Wales’ Nations League clash with Finland to be held in Helsinki

Wales’ opening Nations League match against Finland will take place in Helsinki after the Finnish Government approved their Football Association’s request to allow Ryan Giggs’ squad to travel without quarantine.

The venue for the game – which will be played on September 3 – had been up in the air because of strict Finnish quarantine measures introduced in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Finnish regulations state people entering the country from the UK must quarantine for 14 days, although exemptions can be made by the federal government.

Tuesday’s initial venue deadline imposed by UEFA had passed without any official annoucement, but the Finland FA said on Wednesday that the game would be played behind closed doors at the newly-renovated 36,000-capacity Helsinki Olympic Stadium.

Finland FA secretary general Marco Casagrande said: “The regulations according to the UEFA exception protocol for teams and players are very strict and the teams are practically in their own bubbles, both in Finland and everywhere else.

“Strict adherence to this protocol is a crucial factor and a condition for the authorities to be able to grant permission for the match.”

The Finland FA added that “things will be clarified in more detail during Wednesday and Thursday” and announced at a later date.

Finland head coach Markku Kanerva had postponed his scheduled squad announcement on Tuesday for the Nations League fixtures with Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

Finland play the Republic in Dublin three days after their opening League B, Group 4 game against Wales.

Kanerva will now announce his squad for the Wales and Republic matches on Thursday.

Ryan Giggs Zoom Press Conference
Ryan Giggs Zoom Press Conference

Wales manager Ryan Giggs named a 26-man squad for the Nations League ties against Finland and Bulgaria on Tuesday.

Giggs revealed at his squad announcement that Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale, Juventus playmaker Aaron Ramsey, Schalke winger Rabbi Matondo and Anderlecht defender James Lawrence would undergo Covid-19 tests after arriving from abroad.

He added the quartet would also be travelling to Wales on private planes to reduce the risk of infection.