Chelsea's unvaccinated players could miss Lille tie as Uefa confirm clubs must comply with local rules

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Thomas Tuchel.
Thomas Tuchel.

Uefa have confirmed that Champions League will have to comply with local rules on Covid vaccinations, which could lead to Chelsea’s unvaccinated players missing the away leg of their tie with Lille.

Europe’s governing body are set to meet next week when they will discuss the coronavirus regulations around matches. They are still looking at “Annex J” in their regulations, which could see matches played at neutral venues, although it is deemed unlikely they would undermine French laws.

The issue of unvaccinated athletes has emerged after tennis and rugby complications. Novak Djokovic may not be allowed to defend his French Open title in May as athletes will not be exempt from France’s Covid pass, which will soon come into effect for over- 16s. The ruling could also impact the Six Nations.

A Uefa statement said: “Uefa is liaising with the relevant stakeholders across Europe ahead of the resumption of Uefa’s club competitions in February. The specific conditions under which matches are played in each country are subject to the decisions of the competent authorities in that country.

“Each team will in principle be required to comply with the applicable rules in the country where the match takes place, but the specific competition annexes — still under elaboration — which contain special rules due to Covid-19 applicable to the knockout phase may provide further guidance in this regard.”

Chelsea will speak to Uefa next week to discuss the issue, with Covid-passports requirements now expected to impact competitions and the January transfer window.

Players wanting an escape route from the Premier League will be denied moves to France or Italy without proving they have been vaccinated.

France and Italy have been traditional destinations for players wanting to move from the Premier League mid-season, with a requirement this window they are vaccinated before being let into the countries. The topic has been the talk of some dressing rooms, as players could be denied moves without getting vaccinated.

Uefa also have Paris Saint-Germain’s showpiece tie against Real Madrid that could be impacted next month.

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