The holding of the draw for the group stage of the Champions League tomorrow, Thursday, behind closed doors, is the latest indication that conditions will not return to normal for the continental championship at the present time.
About 6 weeks after Bayern Munich won the title of the last version of the continental competition in the empty stands of Lisbon, the 32 teams will be divided into 8 groups, in the absence of public clamor and amid growing doubts about the emerging Corona virus crisis.
Traveling to high-risk regions like Budapest – as happened last week in the European Super Cup between the Bavarian team and European champions Seville – may become a norm for the teams participating in the continental tournament.
“The legal requirements for us to be able to play these matches are missing,” said Michael Zork, director of football in Borussia Dortmund.
“If we participate in the Champions League on Wednesday in a high-risk region – which is likely something that will happen in more than half of the major cities involved – then there should be regulations that enable us to play in the Bundesliga again on Saturday,” he added.
The tournament draw ceremony was moved from its original place in Athens to the headquarters of the European Football Association (UEFA), which issued guidelines to combat the Corona virus, which left space for interpretation.
And clubs hosting matches should propose alternative venues, including neutral countries, if travel restrictions apply to visiting clubs.
However, this matter becomes binding only if the travel ban is fully implemented, and not if the visiting team is subject to medical isolation standards in his country after his return.
The European Super Cup showed that exceptions can be applied to football teams living in a bubble these days to avoid contagion.
But at the same time, the Hertha Berlin team was denied payment by its Polish striker Krzysztof Piatik in the cup competition, due to the imposition of medical isolation on him for 5 days after his return after participating with his country.
The German Robert Koch Institute for Disease Control has classified many countries and regions for the teams participating in the European Champions League as high risk areas, including Spain and many regions in France.
Bayern Munich, for example, may fall into one group with Barcelona, Spain, Dynamo Kiev, and Rennes, France, and the three clubs are in high-risk areas.
The regulations allow clubs to replace their home stadium or move to a neutral location, and UEFA has also permitted the possibility of extending group stage competitions from December 8 and 9 to January 28, if necessary.
In the event that the group stage competitions are not completed, the UEFA Executive Committee will determine the teams qualified for the playoffs, with the same laws being applied in the European League Championship.
Tomorrow, Thursday, the teams will be divided into 4 levels, with Bayern, Seville, Real Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain, Zenit Saint Petersburg and Porto at the first level.
And in the second level: Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax Amsterdam and Shakhtar Donetsk.
The group stage competitions will start on 20 and 21 October, and the final match will be held on May 29 in Istanbul.