Anyone who is not a German citizen or who lives in Germany is currently not allowed to enter Germany from the UK. The current Corona rules also apply to business trips – and thus also to professional football. This becomes concrete using the example of Liverpool FC, which is due to compete in Leipzig in mid-February. It is currently unclear whether and how the first leg of the Champions League first leg against RB Leipzig can take place.
With the measure, the federal government wants to prevent the corona mutation B1.1.7, first detected in Great Britain, from spreading further in this country. The Foreign Office writes, however, that the exceptions (entry for German citizens from Great Britain allowed) also »a few other special cases« belong.
Will there be a special permit for the game?
An exception could be, for example, Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp as a German citizen, provided he still has a place of residence in Germany. That he is allowed to bring his whole team with him because of that? Probably not. The Ministry of the Interior told the German Press Agency on Monday morning that this applies to professional athletes »no special regulation«. If this rule remains, the duel between Liverpool and RB on February 16 should not take place in Leipzig.
What happens now?
Uefa has set a deadline for RB Leipzig: The hosts must have clarified by February 8th whether the game can take place in Leipzig. To this end, the association has updated the Champions League regulations for the knockout phase; Because of the border closure, the association has compiled a document in which it writes: The responsibility for whether the game takes place rests with the host.
Ultimately, it is not in the power of Uefa to determine the entry requirements of individual countries. However, the people of Leipzig can only make a decision here in consultation with the authorities.
What alternatives does RB Leipzig have?
According to club spokesman Till Müller, Leipzig is in contact »with the authorities, Uefa and Liverpool«. The club has already applied for an entry permit for the Liverpool team – so it is hoped that the game can take place in Leipzig thanks to a special arrangement.
If there is no way to get a special arrangement for Liverpool’s team, both teams could swap home rights. Then Leipzig would first play abroad in England. The Leipzig team would have to do a corona test before returning home, but regular series of tests are part of the usual process anyway.
Because of the exception rules for German citizens and citizens with residence, the Leipziger will then be able to travel back to Germany from England.
Another option would be to play the game in a neutral location. RB sports director Oliver Mintzlaff is not enthusiastic about this. »Our goal is not to play in St. Petersburg or anywhere else as an alternative«he said after the Bundesliga game against Bayer Leverkusen.
On Monday was Deadline Day: Are accesses from England even allowed to enter?
Schalke’s new signing Shkodran Mustafi from Arsenal FC is allowed to enter the country because he remains in Germany, i.e. has a right of residence or even a permanent residence here. The defender had to be tested three times for the corona virus and is currently still in quarantine, as the club announced. Schalke is in an exchange with the Gelsenkirchen health department.
Robert Glatzel, who Mainz 05 loaned out for the second half of the season from Cardiff City in Wales, also has to be quarantined for five days before he can participate in training.
Which games are still affected?
The entry requirements are currently valid until February 17th. If they were extended, the first leg of the first leg between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Manchester City in the Champions League would also be affected.
As in Germany, there is also an entry ban in Norway – for the time being, no one who does not live in Norway is allowed to enter until February 12th. In the event of an extension, this rule would affect TSG Hoffenheim. The team will play in the Europa League in Molde on February 18.
Various winter sports events are currently also affected by the border closure in Norway, including the ski jumping World Cup and Nordic Combined in Lillehammer.