Chelsea may be forced to play Lille in the Champions League round of 16 without their unvaccinated players as the club seeks clarification from UEFA.
All professional athletes must now have a Covid passport to enter France’s new Covid-19 standards.
According to Thomas Tuchel, numerous Chelsea players are not double-vaccinated, which could jeopardise their availability when the Blues go to France on March 16 for the second leg at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
Chelsea’s second leg against Lille could be shifted to a neutral venue because they would be without their unvaccinated stars if they played it in France.
The Blues have requested clarification from UEFA since there are concerns that Thomas Tuchel’s team may be without vaccines.
Any players who cannot travel due to local government limitations are tested positive under the current UEFA criteria. Next week, these rules will be revisited.
The impact of this new rule on the Paris Saint-Germain-Real Madrid rivalry might be significant. The opening leg of the match will take place at Parc des Princes on February 15, and Chelsea will have to wait for a decision from UEFA, which is considering moving the game to a neutral location.
However, nothing is guaranteed in that regard just now.
Thomas Tuchel will take his side’s championship defence in the Champions League very seriously, especially following their 1-0 loss to Manchester City over the weekend. The Blues began the season as one of the favourites to win the Premier League, but they have lost their way in the last month.
Chelsea is 13 points behind Pep Guardiola’s team after a spate of unusual displays. They are now in third place in the points table, with Liverpool ahead of them. The Reds have a two-point lead, but they have played one game fewer.
The Blues finished second in their Champions League group with 13 points from six games. Juventus defeated the west London club to the top place. The Italians handed the Blues their lone loss, a 1-0 defeat.
There are several concerns in Chelsea’s camp right now, notably Romelu Lukaku’s tense relationship with Tuchel. The Belgian striker isn’t a fan of his manager’s system. However, if the Blues are to defend their European crown, they will need their €115 million stars and their manager to be on the same page.