Liverpool are the reigning Premier League champions and one of the biggest clubs in the world, but they won’t be given any special treatment by the German government ahead of the resumption of the 2020-21 Champions League competition.
As Stephan Uersfeld explained for ESPN, the German Ministry of the Interior confirmed that a Feb. 16 fixture between Liverpool and Bundesliga side RB Leipzig won’t occur at Leipzig’s stadium after flights from the United Kingdom and other countries deemed “high-risk” were banned from entering Germany in an attempt to thwart the spread of COVID-19 variants.
“The Corona Protection Order agreed by the federal government last Friday envisions only a few exceptions and no special arrangement for professional athletes,” the ministry explained via an email shared by ESPN. “The federal police has told the RB Leipzig club today that the circumstances of the given case do not meet the requirements for an exemption.”
With Liverpool reportedly unwilling to swap matches and relinquish the right to host the second leg next month, Leipzig have until the end of Monday to propose an alternative, such as playing in a neutral country, to UEFA. Both legs must be completed by April 2, and Leipzig could suffer a 3-0 forfeit for Feb. 16 if they fail to present an alternative to UEFA. Per Champions League regulations, the home team must find other arrangements in such circumstances.
“We are in talks and we are working on a solution. We will be playing somewhere,” Leipzig executive Oliver Mintzlaff told German outlet Sport-Informations-Dienst.