New Zealand will not travel to Wembley to face England in an international friendly next month, because of travel and player availability complications. England were due to host the All Whites on 12 November but New Zealand Football (NZF) say the game could “potentially jeopardise” their players’ careers.
“A number of the team would be subject to quarantine or restrictions on their return home,” said NZF. “This would heavily disrupt their domestic seasons.” New Zealand have not played an international match since their friendly defeat by Lithuania last November.
Subsequent friendlies against Oman and Bahrain, scheduled for March this year, were cancelled because of restrictions amid the Covid-19 pandemic. “The shifting nature of travel restrictions and commercial flight availability under Covid means that we do not have certainty we could assemble a squad at Wembley,” the NZF statement continued.
“Defaulting on this fixture at the last minute is not an option. “Prior to Covid, we had a full calendar of fixtures planned and we have been proactive in seeking out matches but, unfortunately, it just isn’t possible to make the games we have scheduled this year.”