KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: The traditional pattern of the Champions League is to be disrupted again by national restrictions on travel because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Liverpool will not be able to travel to Germany for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against RB Leipzig on February 16 and the Spanish government has told Atletico Madrid that a lockdown extension means they cannot expect to host Chelsea on February 23.
Germany has banned most travellers from countries, including the UK, hit hard by new variants of Covid-19.
A German interior ministry statement said Bundesliga club Leipzig had been told the fixture “does not meet the requirements for an exception”.
European federation UEFA said it was “in touch with the respective clubs” about the tie.
New rules from UEFA state that if restrictions could result in a match not taking place, “the home club must propose a suitable alternative venue, which may be in a neutral country”.
However, if the host club fails to do that and it is not possible to play the game at another venue or on a different date, UEFA says it will deem the match to have been forfeited, with the home side losing 3-0.
With Germany’s restrictions in place until 17 February, an option could be to reverse the tie so Liverpool host the first leg. The second leg is scheduled to take place on 10 March.