Chelsea are seeking clarification from UEFA amid fears they could be without unvaccinated players for their Champions League game in Lille, after the French government confirmed athletes will not be exempt from their vaccine pass requirement.
Under existing UEFA rules, any players unable to travel due to local government restrictions are treated as if they have tested positive. These rules will be reviewed next week.
Chelsea’s concern indicates that some players in Thomas Tuchel’s first-team squad are not fully vaccinated, and would therefore be unavailable for the second leg of the tie on March 16.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is waiting to hear if some players may miss Lille trip next month
Lille may have similar problems getting all their players back to France after the first leg at Stamford Bridge next month. UEFA could opt to switch both ties to neutral venues, but sources insist such as move is unlikely as they don’t want to risk undermining the vaccination drive.
Meanwhile, Blues boss Tuchel has told his players it is unacceptable that they are 13 points behind Manchester City.
Chelsea, who play Brighton on Wednesday night, were tipped to push City all the way in the Premier League after an excellent start to the season.
Lille may have problems getting all their players back to France after the Stamford Bridge tie
But a winter slump has seen Tuchel’s side fall off the pace and last Saturday’s loss to City leaves them facing a mountain to climb.
Asked if the 13-point gap to City was acceptable, Tuchel replied: ‘No, of course not, we would never have accepted that before.
‘We would not have accepted it one year ago, or four weeks ago and I did not accept it at City (last Saturday).’
Meanwhile, Manchester City have abandoned plans for a training camp in Abu Dhabi this month due to the recent Covid outbreak within their squad.
Source: Daily Mail