MANCHESTER CITY, Chelsea and Manchester United’s European hopes have been thrown into jeopardy after the government announced a two-week quarantine on UK arrivals.
The government confirmed in today’s daily press briefing the new measure to place people coming into the country in isolation for 14 days from June 8.
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But, as expected, there was no special exemption made for sports starts, potentially causing a real headache for the British clubs left in Europe.
But the Cabinet minister was overruled by ministers at the Department of Health and Cabinet Office.
They now want to keep exemptions to a minimum with foreign officials, hauliers and medical workers among those excused – but sports stars were not included.
It means should Real Madrid fly to England for the second leg of their last-16 tie with Pep Guardiola’s side, the Spanish giants would have to wait in complete lockdown for two weeks before being able to train and then play the match.
Similarly, Chelsea are due to fly to Germany to play Bayern Munich which would again cause the same problems for Frank Lampard’s men when they return to England.
United are still in the Europa League, beating LASK 5-0 in the first leg of their last-16 clash in Austria with the second leg at Old Trafford, while Wolves and Scottish side Rangers could also fall victim to the new crackdown.
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As things stand, it is still unclear exactly when the Premier League and Champions League will return, with the Prem’s Project Restart aiming for a June 12 date to get the top flight back underway.
If the Champions League and Europa League restart around the same time, that would cause a logistical nightmare for English clubs going abroad and back or foreign clubs travelling to the UK.
Chelsea and Real Madrid, for example, could potentially miss two rounds of league games due to European commitments.
However, the Uefa competitions may be delayed until as late as August and finished after the domestic campaigns are concluded which would reduce the impact on the domestic leagues.
Chelsea were thumped 3-0 by Bayern at Stamford Bridge at the end of February putting the West London club on the brink of going out unless they can produce an incredible comeback in Munich.
But for City, they came from behind to earn a 2-1 victory at the Bernabeu with Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne scoring within five minutes late on before Sergio Ramos saw red.
It puts Guardiola’s side in the ascendancy knowing a draw would be enough to secure their spot in the quarter-finals.
Guardiola has not won the Champions League since 2011 so will be desperate to get his hands on the famous trophy once again this term, especially with the two-year ban still looming.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport will hear City’s appeal from June 8 to determine whether their punishment for breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations will be altered.
However, should any of the British sides go all the way they would face overseas teams in the quarters and semis, potentially causing yet more problems.