RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has confirmed that the club’s Champions League last 16 first leg game against Liverpool will be played at the Puskas Arena in Budapest.
Leipzig discovered on Thursday evening via Germany’s Interior Ministry that the English club cannot enter Germany because of coronavirus mutations in the UK
“The Coronavirus Protection Order agreed by the federal government last Friday envisions only a few exceptions and no special arrangements for professional athletes,” the German Interior Ministry said in a statement.
Though there are some exemptions for medics and other key workers, the ministry has repeatedly said that there are “no special provisions for professional sportspeople.”
The match was set to take place in Leipzig on February 16 but the German federal police responsible for border control (the Bundespolizei) rejected RB’s application for a special permit that would have allowed Jürgen Klopp’s team to enter the country.
“The Bundespolizei informed RB Leipzig today that the case does not fall under the category of exceptional circumstances,” it said in a statement.
Budapest over London
UEFA, European football’s governing body, decreed that RB Leipzig must find a solution.
Minzlaff, the CEO of the club who reached last year’s Champions League semi-finals, was also in talks with Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur over the use of their London stadium, but settled on the venue in the Hungarian capital.
Germany has put a stop to almost all arrivals from areas affected by coronavirus mutations until at least February 17, though German citizens and residents are allowed to return to the country from these areas under certain conditions.
If the travel restrictions are extended beyond the current expiry date, Manchester City’s trip to play Borussia Mönchengladbach on February 24 could also be in doubt.
jsi/msh/mds (AFP, Reuters, AP, SID)
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