Chelsea will be forced to play the second leg of their Champions League tie in Lille without unvaccinated players after UEFA confirmed the French side would not have to move the clash to a neutral venue.
Strict COVID-19 measures have been put in place in France as they look to control the spread of the virus, which include not allowing entry to anyone not fully vaccinated.
In France, fully vaccinated only includes those who have had a third booster jab within the past nine months.
While it is not known who specifically will not be allowed to travel with Thomas Tuchel’s squad for the second leg, the manager has hinted that the ban could cause problems.
“They [the players] are aware of it,” Tuchel told a press conference back in January in the aftermath of the draw.
“And at some point, everybody who is not vaccinated will face some consequences.
“Does that make it wrong that they are not? I’m not so sure about it, I simply don’t know. I took my decision for myself. For us, isolated as a club, isolated as a football team, there can be huge consequences.”
The first leg of Chelsea’s clash with the reigning Ligue 1 Champions is set to take place on Tuesday, February 22 with the second scheduled for March 16.
In the past, professional athletes have been able to attain exemptions from such travel restrictions, but they are becoming increasingly scarce, as Novak Djokovic found out at the Australian Open.
He is set to face similar restrictions at the French Open later this month.
Despite the fact it would benefit him in the coming weeks, Tuchel has previously refused to join the call for mandatory vaccinations.
“We are only a reflection of society and the players have a free choice if they want to get vaccinated or not,” he told a press conference back in September, after N’Golo Kante had tested positive for Covid-19.
“I think we should accept it and this is more or less everything I can say. I know the situation is far from over and all the time somebody gets it here from us and from our crew, it make you very aware it is not over. I hope it gets as less as possible but I clearly don’t have the solution for it.
“It would be easy to say yes [the players should get the vaccine to set an example] now and get applause from a lot of people but at the same time, do I have the right to say it? I’m not so sure. I can make the decision for myself and everybody else needs to reflect about it, take a risk or not.”
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