UEFA attempts to covid-proof club competitions schedule with flexi-hosting rules

September 1 – Clubs participating in the group stages of UEFA’s three club competitions may be forced to play their home matches at the away team’s venue if Covid restrictions prevent opponents from travelling.

Under newly agreed rules following a meeting of UEFA’s executive committee, home teams must ensure their government provides exemptions so there are no restrictions for the visitors – a hot issue in recent weeks.

If they are unable to do so, the home club will forfeit the game if they do not arrange to stage the fixture at a neutral venue.

The move means that both legs of a tie could be held at one club’s stadium.

UEFA say the special rules “will allow the UEFA administration to closely monitor any potential travel and quarantine restrictions and obligations throughout Europe.”.”

“In all cases, the clubs may agree – subject to UEFA’s approval – on a venue reversal or on a neutral venue (within the territory of a UEFA member association), provided that no restrictions apply and no city or stadium clash is caused with other UEFA fixtures,” it adds.

Under current UK government rules, for instance, arrivals from so-called amber list countries who are not fully vaccinated must quarantine for 10 days.  Those who are fully vaccinated avoid quarantine. Italy, Spain and France are all on the amber list. Currently in Italy, fully vaccinated arrivals do not have to quarantine but those who remain unvaccinated face five days of quarantine.

The UEFA mandate further explains: “If restrictions imposed by the national/local authorities could result in the match not taking place as scheduled, the following applies: If restrictions imposed by the national/local authorities of the home club’s country apply to the visiting club, the home club must propose a suitable alternative venue within 24 hours of the relevant deadline … which may be in a neutral country (within the territory of a UEFA member association) that would allow the match to take place without any restrictions for both clubs.

“If the home club fails to propose such suitable alternative venue within the aforementioned deadline, the UEFA administration will take a final decision on the match venue and/or match date.”

“The home club will remain responsible for the organisation of the match and all related costs. If the home club fails to propose such suitable alternative venue by the aforementioned deadline and a reorganisation of the match at an alternative venue and/or date is not possible, the club in question will be held responsible for the match not taking place and the match will be declared by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body to be forfeited.”

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