Rangers midfielder and Northern Ireland captain Steven Davis will feel the brunt of a sore Covid-19 injustice as the Ulstermen were relegated from their UEFA Nations League group.
The iconic playmaker was ruled out of the nation’s 1-1 draw with Romania for personal reasons, but his presence couldn’t have prevented the country being relegated from League B.
Romania were awarded a 3-0 win by UEFA after group rivals Norway were unable to fulfil their fixture in the last round of matches [Eurosport].
This came after Norway defender and Galatasaray right-back Omar Elabellaoui tested positive for Covid-19, meaning the Scandinavian nation were prevented from travelling to Bucharest over the weekend.
The matter was submitted to the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body, who confirmed they’d awarded the points to Romania.
A UEFA statement read:
“The Chairman of the UEFA Appeals Body today took the following decision: ‘To declare the Nations League match between Romania and Norway as forfeited by the Norwegian Football Association, who is therefore deemed to have lost the match 3-0.”
The decision relegated Northern Ireland to League C for the next UEFA Nations League competition looking ahead to Euro 2024.
Ian Baraclough’s side finished bottom of League B Group 1 with two points from six games, both of them coming in 1-1 draws with Romania in a group which also included Austria and Norway.
Romania finished above them on eight points, meaning even if they’d won yesterday’s match at Windsor Park they’d have still ranked below Mirel Radoi’s side.
This consolidates the country’s frustration in what has been a bitterly disappointing international break which also saw Northern Ireland fall at the final hurdle against Slovakia.
The Ulsterman lost 2-1 after extra time in their UEFA Nations League playoff for Euro 2020, meaning they won’t be at this summer’s competition.
Rangers winger Jordan Jones is also a regular in the Northern Ireland squads but missed out this time after being dropped due to a Covid-19 breach in the weeks running up to the fixtures.