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Belgium's Mechele positive for COVID-19, under-17 players infected

(Reuters) - Belgium defender Brandon Mechele has tested positive for COVID-19, the Belgian FA said on Monday, while an official said that more than half the players in the under-17 squad had been infected during a trip to Germany.

The RBFA said on Twitter that 27-year-old Mechele, an unused substitute in Saturday’s 2-0 win away to Denmark, had returned a positive test on Sunday. It did not give any further details.

The Club Brugge player won his only cap so far in the Euro qualifier away to Kazakhstan last year. His club said he would also have to miss next Saturday’s Belgian league match at home to Waasland-Beveren.

Meanwhile, the association’s performance manager Philippe Rosier told RBTF television that 14 members of the 22-man under-17 squad had tested positive during a trip to Germany last week, probably during the bus journey.

A friendly against Germany’s under-17 team on Saturday was cancelled although only two players were reported to have tested positive at the time.

“We regret this situation, especially for the parents and children involved,” Rosier said, adding that everyone had tested negative beforehand.

“We had taken all the measures... we were very strict on the protocols. But this situation still happened.

“It is assumed that the contagion took place during the bus journey. This is the only place where they were all gathered in a closed space.”

Club Brugge said that two of their players were among those infected.

“For the past six months, the club has scrupulously respected the coronavirus protocol, without so far having registered a single positive case,” it said.

“It is therefore regrettable to note that during the period of international selections, three players from the club have tested positive: in addition to Brandon Mechele, two other of our players selected for the under-17 national team.”

Writing by Brian Homewood, editing by Pritha Sarkar