Government ministers ‘veto attempts to exempt elite sports stars from 14-day UK coronavirus quarantine’ with Champions League and Europa League campaigns thrown into chaos
- The UK’s 14-day isolation period for travellers has scuppered European fixtures
- Minsters at the Department of Health and Cabinet Office vetoed any exceptions
- It was initially hoped that elite sports stars would be exempt from the quarantine
- The recent ruling appears to have plunged European competitions into chaos
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
This season’s remaining European fixtures have been thrown into chaos after UK government ministers reportedly vetoed an attempt to exempt sports stars from a 14-day isolation period.
The new restriction was introduced as the nation eases out of coronavirus lockdown, with all returning British nationals and travellers being placed into quarantine to avoid the spread of the disease.
And now, according to The Sun, UEFA’s proposals to finish the Champions League in August appear to have hit a roadblock.
Government ministers reportedly vetoed attempts to exempt sports stars from quarantine
The measures will make international travel to the UK for foreign teams impossible and have posed football chiefs with a logistics nightmare.
However, sports bosses appeared to have initially persuaded Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to appeal for an exemption for players.
Despite this, the minister has now been overruled by the Department of Health and the Cabinet Office.
According to a government source, ‘a final decision hasn’t been made’, but No 10 plan for the ‘regime to be robust’.
Sport bosses persuaded Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to appeal for exemptions for players
The Sun also believe that the authorities are keen to keep any exemptions concerning international arrivals to a bare minimum.
The government will review the ruling over the tightening of the nation’s borders every three weeks over the course of the summer.
Manchester City and Chelsea remain in the last-16 stage of the Champions League, although the latter appear set to crash out after suffering a first leg defeat to Bayern Munich in February.
Both clubs are yet to contest their return European clashes on English soil, but UEFA were hopeful of finishing the competition in just three months’ time.
Chelsea are yet to play the return leg of their last-16 Champions League tie with Bayern Munich
UEFA will also have to consider Manchester United, Wolves and Rangers’ Europa League ties
The governing body may now have to seek out alternative arrangements to ensure that both ties are completed – and will also have to consider the rest of Manchester United, Wolves and Rangers’ Europa League campaigns.
There has been no major sport held in the UK since mid-March, when the lockdown started to be enforced nationwide.
And in what appeared to be a much-needed boost to morale, senior Downing Street figures appeared to have agreed that sportsmen would not be expected to adhere to the protective travelling measures.
The Sun reported that the players would have undergone rigorous testing, and would have been expected to enter isolation immediately after a positive test – but recent developments have raised further questions over the rest of the campaign.