Real Madrid will not require a 14-day quarantine period when they travel to face Manchester City next month, as the UK government has granted an exemption from the recently re-imposed regulations.
Spain was one of the first countries to enter full lockdown back in March, but had returned to a degree of normality before fears of another spike in coronavirus transmission came to light. On Friday, more than 900 new cases were confirmed, and the Spanish government warned the country may be facing a ‘second wave.’
The UK had lifted restrictions on those travelling from Spain, but recently reinforced a standard 14-day quarantine on visitors, which sparked doubts over the viability of contesting the second leg as planned at the Etihad Stadium.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), however, has confirmed that players and staff from Madrid qualify for an exemption that applies to “sports stars, event officials, coaches, medics, mechanics and incoming members of the media”, which exists to allow elite international sporting events to take place.
Sky Sports report that, as part of the regulations, those travelling for the tie will live in a ‘bubbled’ environment for the duration of their stay. As is the case for Premier League matches, anyone entering the stadium will have to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test, while there will be a host of physical distancing measures in place designed to further limit the spread of the virus.
The tie will take place on 7 August, as both teams hope to book their place in the quarter-finals and take another step towards the final two weeks later. City lead 2-1, having edged the first leg at Santiago Bernabeu, but have plenty of work left to do against Zinedine Zidane’s newly-crowned La Liga champions.
The Champions League represents a last chance at glory for City, who will be disappointed with their season if they fail to add the elusive trophy to their cabinet. They have already dropped the Premier League to Liverpool and will not retain the FA Cup, after Arsenal eliminated them at the semi-final stage at Wembley.