Travel bans may force clubs to forfeit European games next season


FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured on a backdrop before a news conference after an ...
FILE PHOTO: A logo is pictured on a backdrop before a news conference after an UEFA Executive Board meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, December 9, 2016. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

In Summary

  • Clubs in next season’s European competitions could be forced to forfeit matches if they fail to inform UEFA of travel restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to guidelines issued by European soccer’s governing body.
  • UEFA said it would publish a list of known travel restrictions between countries before each draw is made. Clubs would then have to inform UEFA of any other unknown restrictions at least 48 hours before the draw, failing which they will be handed a 3-0 defeat.

Clubs in next season’s European competitions could be forced to forfeit matches if they fail to inform UEFA of travel restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to guidelines issued by European soccer’s governing body.

UEFA said it would publish a list of known travel restrictions between countries before each draw is made. Clubs would then have to inform UEFA of any other unknown restrictions at least 48 hours before the draw, failing which they will be handed a 3-0 defeat.

“If a club fails to inform the UEFA administration two days prior to the relevant draw of any restrictions other than those published by UEFA … the club will be held responsible … and the match will be declared to be forfeited by the club in question,” the governing body said.

UEFA also said that if a club was drawn against an opponent that was not allowed to travel to the country then it must find a neutral venue for its home fixture. If the home club failed to propose a suitable alternative venue it would have to forfeit the game.

The rules will apply for the qualifying rounds and play-offs of next season’s European competitions.

This season’s remaining Champions League and Europa League round of 16 second-leg ties that were postponed because of COVID-19 in March will be played in the stadiums of the home teams.

The final stages of the Champions League, from the quarter-finals onwards, will be played as a mini-tournament in Portugal and the Europa League in Germany.

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