U.S, Czech Republic pulls out of world handball championship

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The U.S and the Czech Republic have pulled out of the world handball championship which begins Wednesday in Egypt after a COVID-19 outbreak among players of both teams.

“USA Team Handball has officially communicated to withdraw their participation in the world championship following several positive results after the obligatory COVID-19 tests,” the International Handball Federation (IHF) confirmed on Wednesday.

“The USA are thus the second team to announce their withdrawal due to several positive COVID-19 cases, after the Czech Republic was forced to cancel their participation earlier on Tuesday,’’ the sport’s governing body added on its official website.

Switzerland will replace the U.S while North Macedonia have taken the Czech Republic’s slot in the 32-team event, with hosts Egypt facing Chile in the opening match on Wednesday.

The organisers had originally planned to let up to 5,000 fans attend each game, but the IHF and the Egyptian government scrapped the decision due to COVID-19 concerns.

The tournament will now be held behind closed doors.