England Women have cancelled Tuesday’s friendly in Germany following a positive coronavirus test among the team’s backroom staff.
The fixture, which was due to take place behind closed doors at the Brita-Arena in Wiesbaden, was to be England’s first competitive fixture since the SheBelieves Cup in March.
Phil Neville and the squad met up for a training camp at St George’s Park this week are were set to fly to Germany on Sunday but those plans have been shelved at the last minute.
The rest of the camp has now been cancelled and England’s players will return to their respective clubs.
The current COVID-19 protocol in Germany requires that any individual who tests positive whilst in the country must self-isolate for 14 days and the FA said they “cannot take the risk that this may happen to a player or member of England staff”.
In a statement, the FA’s chief executive Mark Bullingham said: “This has been a difficult but necessary decision. Nothing is more important than the safety, health and wellbeing of the players and colleagues under our care.
“We are very grateful to the DFB for their cooperation and understanding and look forward to the possibility of a future fixture in healthier and safer times.”
As hosts of the delayed 2021 European Championships, which will now take place in July 2022, England have not had any qualifying games to play.
England have been set a target of winning the World Cup or European Championship by 2024 and have been keen to return to competitive action. They are due to take on Norway in a friendly at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane on December 1.
On the cancellation, Neville said: “While we all wanted to play Tuesday’s game, this was absolutely the right course of action. I thank Germany’s staff for their understanding and our FA colleagues for their support.
“I know the fans were hoping to see us play again but I am sure they will understand the decision. We have still had a good week of training and are looking forward to getting together next month before our match against Norway in Sheffield.”
Neville’s side disappointed at the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year, beating only Japan and losing to hosts USA and Spain.
The team played an intra-squad training match on Friday, during which Chelsea’s Fran Kirby had to be taken off on a golf cart just before half-time after a tackle on Georgia Stanway.
England’s last meeting with Germany was a 2-1 defeat last November, with Klara Buhl scoring the winner in the final minute for the visitors in front of a record crowd of nearly 80,000 at Wembley.