PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain called off its upcoming trip to the Persian Gulf region on Wednesday because of coronavirus concerns.
The French league leader was scheduled to fly to Qatar for a three-day training camp starting Sunday and then play a friendly match in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Jan. 19.
“In view of the health situation in France, Paris Saint-Germain has decided to postpone the Qatar Winter Tour 2022 to protect the health of its staff and players,” PSG said. The club is owned by the Qatari state and last toured Qatar in 2019.
PSG was due to play a team composed of players from Saudi Arabia’s leading clubs Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal, which won a record fourth Asian Champions League title in November.
Former long-serving Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger, who is now FIFA’s head of soccer development, was to take charge of the combined side.
PSG’s squad has been hit by COVID-19 cases this month, with Angel Di Maria and Julian Draxler the latest players to contract the virus, which forced them to miss Sunday’s league game at Lyon.
Lionel Messi contracted the virus while he was in Argentina during the mid-season winter break. He has since tested negative.
Two matches in the French league’s first division were postponed last weekend because of a high number of positive virus cases in the squads of Lorient and Troyes.
Lorient’s trip to defending champion Lille and Montpellier’s home game against Troyes have been rescheduled for Jan. 19.
The German soccer league’s governing body says that most of the players and staff in the top two tiers have had a booster vaccination.
League board member Ansgar Schwenken said that “of the more than 90% of all of the players, coaches and support persons who have been vaccinated, more than 70% have already received a booster vaccination.”
The statement comes as squads are starting to recover from a wave of coronavirus infections among players returning from vacation during the winter break. The absences disrupted most of last week’s games.
Goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer was one of six Bayern Munich players who returned to training after isolation Wednesday, along with Alphonso Davies and Leroy Sané.
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