Despite a certain optimism and the multiple requests of the leaders of the Leipzig club to their authorities, nothing worked. The German Home Office announced on Thursday evening that the Liverpool club were not allowed to enter the territory to play their knockout stages of the Champions League against Leipzig due to health restrictions linked to the pandemic. The match was scheduled for February 16.
However, the health measures prohibiting airlines from transporting people from areas affected by mutations of the coronavirus to German territory, which obviously concerns Great Britain, officially runs until February 17 … at least. If the measure were extended beyond that date, the next affected team would be Manchester City, who are due to travel to Mönchengladbach on February 24.
If until now the travel of high-level athletes for European competitions had not been impacted by the pandemic, the appearance of new variants and the worsening of the situation across the continent required a modification of the measures. Measures that have become more stringent.
Relocate the match to Austria?
The ban on entering Germany from Great Britain does not therefore provide for “a special exemption for professional athletes,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior told AFP, specifying that the Leipzig meeting -Liverpool did not “justify deviating” from these rules.
This refusal to welcome the English champion to Germany does not for the moment call into question the holding of the meeting. However, UEFA regulations stipulate that it is up to the Leipzig club – which was in the pool of PSG during the group stage – to find a way to host the match under penalty of losing the match by forfeit (3 -0).
There are solutions. There is thus the possibility of inverting the home and away matches – therefore of playing the first leg in Liverpool and hoping for a change in the measures before the return – or of playing the match on neutral ground, therefore outside Germany. Owned by the Red Bull group, Leipzig could relocate the match to Austria, at the Red Bull Arena, where the Salzburg club, which also belongs to the company known for its eponymous energy drink, plays.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr