The Scottish FA can confirm that the Women’s Under-19s squad were forced to postpone their UEFA European Championship Qualifying Round match against Serbia in Albania this week due to an outbreak of acute gastroenteritis that affected nine players from the squad and eight members of the backroom staff.
This was flagged to UEFA via the match delegate on the day of the match and contact was subsequently made with the Albanian FA to verify the developing illness. A visit was made by a local doctor near the match venue in Durres and upon submitting his findings, the game was postponed.
We apologised for the unforeseen circumstance to our hosts in Albania and also to our opponents, Serbia. Given the exceptional situation, we emphasised our wish that the match be rescheduled and we have reiterated that stance to UEFA and their Match Operations department.
We await clarification on the outcome and are grateful to the families of the players for their support in ensuring the squad returned home timeously to convalesce.
Gareth Evans, the Women’s Under-19 national coach, revealed the extent of the bug that swept through the squad after winning their opening two matches against the hosts, Albania, and Cyprus.
“Firstly, the health and wellbeing of the girls is the most important thing and while they are disappointed not to have been able to play the game after two victories, I was more concerned with making sure they got treated and made it home safely,” he said.
“I contacted every one of the girls’ families personally to update them and allay any fears. Some of the players’ families travelled to watch the games and even though they weren’t staying in the same complex, they took ill as well.
“Our goalkeeping coach [Kevin Stewart] travelled back to Aberdeen via Heathrow, took ill at the concourse in London and had to be treated on the spot.
“I have never experienced anything like it but the main thing is that we are back recuperating and awaiting UEFA’s verdict. We remain hopeful they will look sympathetically at the exceptional circumstances.”