Man City vs Real Madrid up in the air as UK reimposes quarantine
The UK has reinstated a rule requiring arrivals from Spain to observe a 14-day quarantine, leaving the sides' Champions League clash at the Etihad in doubt.
UPDATE 26/7: Man City vs Real Madrid not at risk
Manchester City and Real Madrid’s Champions League last-16 second leg at the Etihad Stadium is up in the air after the UK government reintroduced a mandatory quarantine period for travellers arriving from Spain.
Man City and Real Madrid due to play at Etihad on 7 August
City, who beat Madrid 2-1 in February’s first leg at the Bernabéu, are scheduled to host Los Blancos on 7 August, in a clash that was postponed from 17 March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, it was confirmed on Saturday that anyone arriving in the UK from Spain on or after 26 July will now have to go into self-isolation for 14 days.
Covid-19 case numbers on the rise again in Spain
The move comes as a response to an uptick in Covid-19 cases in Spain since its government lifted a three month-long state of emergency in June. This week, the Spanish health ministry reported over 900 new infections on both Thursday and Friday, amid a rising number of fresh outbreaks across the country.
If you arrive in the UK from Spain including the Canary and Balearic Islands, on or after 26 July 2020 you will need to self-isolate for 14 days.— Dept for Transport (@transportgovuk) July 25, 2020
Find out more here 👉 https://t.co/YrrzFQHxUr
"Protecting public health is our absolute priority and we have taken this decision to limit any potential spread to the UK," a British government spokesperson said. "We’ve always been clear that we would act immediately to remove a country [from the UK's quarantine-exemption list] where necessary."
Future of fixture down to UK government, say UEFA sources
In the wake of the announcement, UEFA sources consulted by AS say discussions will begin on Sunday in a bid to find a solution to the issue.
According to standard procedure, the same sources explain, a decision on the future of the Etihad clash now lies in the hands of the UK government, who will have to decide whether or not Madrid’s travelling party must observe the self-isolation rule. If Madrid can't be exempted, the fixture will not be able to go ahead in Manchester.
Neutral venue was previously considered
UEFA had originally considered holding the return legs of the four unresolved Champions League last-16 ties in neutral Portugal, before announcing earlier in July that the matches would be played at the home teams' stadiums.
Champions League mini-tournament in Lisbon
The quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of this season's competition are due to be contested in a mini-tournament in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, from 12 to 23 August.
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