Machin’s China move off after relative gets coronavirus: report

Shanghai (AFP) – Former Sevilla and Espanyol boss Pablo Machin will not take up the head coaching job at Qingdao Huanghai in China after one of his relatives caught the coronavirus, a report said Thursday.

The 45-year-old Spaniard was named to lead the Chinese Super League club last week, days before the virus-delayed season began.

However, Machin released a statement on Twitter on Wednesday saying he would not be coming to China for “personal reasons”. He has been strongly linked with Spanish club Alaves.

Xinhua news agency subsequently quoted a Qingdao spokesman as saying: “One of Machin’s relatives was infected with COVID-19 and he was one of the close contacts. Therefore, he can’t come to China and asked to terminate the contract.”

“To ensure the safety of the club and the CSL, we agreed.”

Machin, who was fired by La Liga basement side Espanyol in December, would have been the replacement for fellow Spaniard Juanma Lillo.

Lillo departed the CSL team in June because the club said his mother was “seriously ill in Spain and needed urgent care”.

Days later he was appointed Pep Guardiola’s new assistant at Manchester City.

Newly promoted Qingdao lost their season-opener 2-0 to Wuhan Zall on Saturday.

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