13 September 2021

Govt Extends Red-List Exemption For European Teams  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea's Champion League celebrationThe Government has extended its elite sport exemption to cover teams and players entering England for UEFA club competition games from red list countries.

It means that players who have recently been in red list countries representing their nations can travel to England and feature for their clubs.

The new provisions mean English clubs and those teams from red list countries playing Champions League ties and other European matches will not have to be moved to a neutral venue.

Manchester United and Arsenal's Europa League last-32 first legs in February were played at neutral grounds due to coronavirus restrictions.

United, who were due to travel to Spain to face Real Sociedad, played at Juventus' Allianz Stadium in Turin, while the Gunners played Benfica at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome because of restrictions over Portugal.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel suggested last week that moving international fixtures to green-listed countries would be helpful
The restrictions have seen a number of club versus country disputes.

Earlier in September, Zenit St Petersburg demanded Brazilians Malcom and Claudinho to return from international duty after realising they would be banned from entering England because their homeland was on the red list in the UK.

The Russian club head to Stamford Bridge on September 14 for their Champions League clash against Chelsea.

Malcom and Claudinho would have been unavailable had they stayed in South America for the three World Cup qualifiers.

Last Friday, FIFA cleared players called up by Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay during the international break to play in the Premier League at the weekend.

It was revealed last week that FIFA had invoked Article 5 to block Premier League clubs from selecting players who they had refused to release for the latest round of international fixtures, following a request from the Brazilian Football Confederation.

The request came after Premier League clubs unanimously agreed in August not to release players for international matches in countries on the UK Government's red list.

However, following extensive talks with FIFA, the FA and the Premier League, the associations of Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay agreed to waive the automatic five-day restriction they had the option of imposing.

The ruling meant Liverpool had Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino available for selection against Leeds on Sunday.