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England’s World Cup qualifier vs Albania under threat amid security fears

England’s upcoming World Cup qualifier against Albania is at risk of being cancelled amid reports there is a lack of security available for the clash.

The Three Lions are due to face their second Group I opponents in the Albanian capital of Tirana on Sunday, with the clash sandwiched between games against San Marino on Thursday and Poland next Wednesday.

But a statement released by the Albanian FA on Thursday suggests that the safety of both sides may not be able to be guaranteed, and thus it is possible that there will be no option but to scrap the contest.

Albania are due to host England on Sunday but the match is now in doubt

Originally published in the Albanian Daily News, the statement read: “Today in the Albanian Football Federation a letter arrived from the Local Police Directorate of Tirana which states the structures of the Local Police Directorate Tirana cannot guarantee the taking of measures before, during and after the Albania-England match.

“Faced with the situation where the state authorities did not react after the request of the AFA for the release of spaces on the perimeter of the National Stadium, we request urgent response to these structures.

“The cancellation of the Albania-England match would have catastrophic consequences for the image of our country, the National Team and in general for Albanian Football.”

It is likely that if this were the case, England would be awarded the three points and Albania would receive punishment from FIFA for failing to fulfil the fixture.

However, an FA spokesman told the Daily Mail that as of yet they have received no contact from Albania with regard to worries about the fixture.

“The English FA has not been informed that there is a problem staging the game,” they said. “The two football associations are in daily contact with only days to go before the match and it is understood no mention has been made about security concerns.

It is unclear whether Gareth Southgate and his side will be in action at the weekend or not
It is unclear whether Gareth Southgate and his side will be in action at the weekend or not

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“Officials in London believe the matter is an internal dispute between Albanian authorities.

“It would be unprecedented for an international fixture to be called off at this stage in these circumstances and it would be likely to result in a points deduction and fine for Albania.”

England are due to arrive in Albania on Saturday, so a decision over whether or not the game will go ahead will surely have to be made by the end of Friday.




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