Ahead of the one-legged UEFA Champions League games in Lisbon, Portugal, there are new rules that clubs must adhere to as the action continues amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a bid to avoid a spike of the deadly virus, Uefa has provided a COVID-19 guideline, which is believed to be the solution to the Champions League final eight knockouts to be played across 12 days in Lisbon.
The governing body has further said that football’s reputation is at stake in the staging of future international matches if protocols are not followed.
So, all eight teams and their official are required to stick to the rules from a 31-page document in Lisbon.
What is stated in the 31-page document for the Champions League quarter-finals?
Although some of them will make life very different for the elite of European football, but its part of the strictness that ensure compliance with safety of all involved.
Players are prohibited from attending the beaches and outside their bubble. With the sights of Lisbon out of bounds, players are only allowed to leave their hotels with a prior agreement. They can’t even come into contact with anyone outside their group.
Furthermore, players should have private access routes and a private dining area in the hotels, while food should only be served by the team’s own staff.
All laundry will have to be handled by team staff. So, the team staff handled pants washing, clothes, and equipment.
The coronavirus has changed the lifestyle of footballers these days as they have to be involved in plenty of tests for coronavirus and the Champions League bubble will be no different.
Although tests were conducted before clubs left for Portugal, there will be tests conducted a day before each game and the results will be delivered – at the latest – six hours before kick-off.
It could be recalled that two people connected with Atletico Madrid have already returned positive results and not been allowed to travel.
In a case where one or two positive tests lead to some torn-up team sheets and tactical masterplans, the Uefa’s rules stipulate that provided a team can field 13 ‘A list’ players, plus a goalkeeper, the games have to go ahead.
But if a team cannot do that, they would be allowed to bring in any new signings who had not been registered for the tournament.
There is also a probability that Uefa could reschedule games base on a case-by-case basis. However, since the Champions League final will not be moved from 23 August, any affected team will have to play or probably have to forfeit the fixture.
Another interesting part of the rule is the drug tests that involve social distancing. Now, players will have to use a mirror set up opposite the toilet for doping control officers to observe while players are produce urine samples.
There will also be disinfected transport and VIP exit in planes and buses. This is to minimize contact with the general public. Such a situation will see players using VIP arrival areas at airports.
While leaving the bus, you need to use the central door and not get off at the front.
There will also be a swap of pennants before kick-off, but no exchange of shirts as players are not permitted.