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Denmark pick futsal players to avoid Euro 2020 expulsion

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Denmark have named a second-string squad including futsal players for this week’s matches against Slovakia and Wales after

contract negotiations with first-team regulars reached deadlock.

If the Danish Football Association (DBU) had failed to name a squad, the team, who are ninth in the world rankings and reached the last 16 at this year’s World Cup, could have been thrown out of the 2020 European Championship.

Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet reported that the squad includes players from the national futsal team, a five-a-side soccer game played mainly indoors on small hard courts.

Denmark are scheduled to play Slovakia in a friendly on Wednesday and Wales in a Nations League group stage match on Sunday. Coach Aage Hareide will not be in charge of the team as the DBU does not want him to manage a side he did not pick himself.

The dispute is chiefly over the rights of players, including Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen, to make individual sponsorship agreements with companies competing with national team sponsors. The players’ travelling conditions are also an issue.

The players union on Tuesday made a second offer to extend their existing contracts which would have postponed further negotiations until after the two games.

The DBU was not immediately reachable for comment, but rejected the same offer on Sunday.

The DBU last year had to cancel a World Cup qualifying match for the women’s national team against Sweden, also due to a contract dispute.

(Reporting by Emil Gjerding Nielson, editing by Ed Osmond)

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