England Face Wait Over Trip to Albania
What are the Security Concerns?
The issue centres around adequate policing in Albania’s capital city of Tirana.
Albania had been hoping to play the game in front of a limited capacity, with Covid-19 measures still in place. This is despite no current lockdown in the city. However, the request was rejected by the Albanian government, meaning that the game will be played behind-closed-doors.
This, though, has brought security concerns to events outside the Air Albania Stadium. With such a large scale fixture set to occur – England have not visited Albania since 2001 – there are concerns as to whether crowds could congregate outside of the stadium.
As a result, this has led to Albanian FA being informed by local police that they cannot guarantee the safety of either team.
A statement from the Albanian FA said: “Today a letter arrived which states that the structures of the local police directorate of Tirana do not guarantee the taking of measures before, during and after the Albania-England match on 28 March.
“Faced with the situation where the state authorities did not react after the request of the Albanian Football Federation for the release of spaces on the perimeter of the national stadium, we request urgent response of these structures.
“The cancellation of the Albania-England match scheduled to be played at Air Albania Stadium would have catastrophic consequences for the image of our country, the national team and in general for Albanian football.”
England will face San Marino later this evening in their World Cup qualifier. With a hectic schedule ahead this year, England may have to squeeze their trip to Albania into either the October or November international break.
History With Albania
England have face Albania four times in their history, winning all four games.
The last game between the two sides came in 2001, where England ran out 2-0 winners at St James’ Park. Michael Owen opened the scoring before Robbie Fowler sealed the win late on.
Owen also scored in their last visit to Albania; England won 3-1 thanks to goals from the former Liverpool man, Paul Scholes and Andy Cole.
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