Connah’s Quay Nomads manager Andy Morrison is facing an FAW investigation into his ‘turn a blind eye’ comments after the Europa League defeat by Dinamo Tbilisi.
The FAW says they are looking into whether the comments bring the association into disrepute.
Morrison said earlier he was saddened that his comments about players saying they felt before Thursday’s defeat had been taken out of context and were not related to COVID-19.
Three Nomads players missed the heartbreaking defeat to an injury-time penalty by the Georgian outfit after testing positive for the coronavirus.
An FAW statement said: “In response to the media comments made by the Connah’s Quay Nomads manager, Andy Morrison, the Football Association of Wales immediately requested the observations of the club.
“The FAW is satisfied that the comments contradict the confirmed compliance with the COVID-19 protocols; and whilst the club may decide to take internal actions, the FAW is currently investigating whether a breach of the guidelines has taken place and whether the comments constitute a breach of FAW Rules for bringing the association into disrepute.”
— Connah's Quay Nomads FC (@the_nomads) September 18, 2020
In an interview after the game, Morrison said: “Three lads have turned up tonight and they’re not well.
“And it’s like ‘lads, I don’t want to hear it. I can’t hear it tonight that you’re ill… let’s just get through it’.
“I’ve been told that before the game and we’ve had to turn a blind eye to it and then you would have never noticed that anyone there tonight wasn’t feeling great.”
But the Nomads boss – and the club – had said earlier that this was NOT a reference to the fact that three players had tested positive for COVID-19 and were self-isolating.
“I was referring to the hurdles we had to climb and the problems we faced before the game and again on the match day there were players who were not quite right for various reasons,” Morrison said.
“For them to put in the performance they did was remarkable, beyond anything you could have dreamed of. To take a team like that to the 95th minute and lose on a penalty was heartbreaking.
“Those were the points I was making and referring to but sadly they’ve been turned around and made to look in a different light which is a shame because it takes away a little bit away from the effort and performance of the players.”
Morrison and the club – via a statement – have also said that all players were tested before Thursday game and anybody showing symptoms of COVID-19 would not have been allowed into Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground.
“Everyone who was in that changing room could only be there if they had passed a Covid test and gone through all the protocols,” added Morrison.
“They were tested for their temperature so they wouldn’t have been in there if there was something wrong with them. Match day situations arise and that’s what it was.
“It’s been twisted round and made to look in a different light, but I’m not accountable for that. If that’s what someone in the press wants to do to get a story, then so be it. I know what we were referring to and I think anyone who has been in the game or managed would understand my point of view that there are certain things you can’t get distracted by.”
A Nomads statement said: “Ahead of kick off, it was public knowledge that we had received three positive Covid tests with one additional player showing symptoms with all four being immediately self-isolated.
“On Thursday, our backroom staff worked diligently alongside Public Health Wales, FAW and UEFA to ensure that the fixture would go ahead with all three governing bodies acknowledging that the club had followed all required protocol.
“This included all of our available matchday squad and staff completing the industry recognised Benchmark54 App before midday of the game which asks an 11 question questionnaire regarding health and Covid symptoms – all of these came back negative. Additionally, everyone was temperature checked upon arrival at the stadium.
“In a post-match interview with various media outlets, manager, Andy Morrison used the term “turned a blind eye” which has unfortunately been misconstrued by many to mean that as a club we ignored Covid regulations.
“We would like to go on record and say that this is categorically untrue and that what the manager was referring to was a number of players who may not have played had we had a fully fit squad.
“Morrison clarified this in a tweet on his own personal Twitter account, indicating that a number of players had suffered from isolated pre-match upset stomach and headaches likely down to nerves due to being thrust into the starting lineup of such a high profile fixture.”
The FAW said in the statement they were satisfied the Cymru Premier League club had satisfied the COVID-19 protocols for the game to go ahead.
The statement said: “In relation to the UEFA Europa League qualifying round two match between Connah’s Quay Nomads and Dinamo Tbilisi in Wrexham on 17 September, the Football Association of Wales is satisfied that all COVID-19 protocols were followed in order for the game to go ahead.
As a result of the mandatory UEFA testing under their COVID-19 protocols for European competitions, it was confirmed that three Connah’s Quay Nomads players tested positive for the virus and were isolated from the rest of the squad.
One further player was identified as being in contact with those that had received a positive result and was immediately told to self-isolate at home and is now awaiting a further test for the virus.
The club’s doctor followed the national guidance and informed the relevant health authorities where the players reside to allow track and trace procedures to be implemented.
The FAW is further satisfied that the club followed the advice of Public Health Wales and the UEFA protocols in order for the match to go ahead as scheduled once the positive tests had been confirmed.
In accordance with both FAW and UEFA protocols, the squad, staff and officials completed daily medical questionnaires prior to matchday and on matchday itself. The UEFA stadium entry procedures were also completed, which included a further temperature test and the negative COVID-19 result paperwork.
The Racecourse Ground and Wrexham AFC ensured that the venue was COVID-19 compliant and a safe environment for all those in attendance at the stadium. In addition, the FAW and UEFA had delegates at the match to ensure protocols were being followed.