‘Final 8’ kicks off with strict virus measures

Spectators will be absent, and players and officials must follow a strict protocol set down by UEFA to prevent infections

LISBON • Four months behind schedule because of the pandemic, the Champions League has reached the quarterfinal stage with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) taking on outsiders Atalanta in Lisbon scheduled earlier this morning in the first game of the “Final Eight”.

Because of the health risks, spectators will be absent, and players and officials must follow a strict protocol set down by UEFA to prevent infections.

What is the Virus Situation in Lisbon?

At the end of June, the Portuguese government reintroduced a partial lockdown in the northern suburbs of Lisbon after registering a surge in new positive tests. But since then, the number of new cases has been in steady decline.

The capital remains under stricter conditions than the rest of the country — groups of no more than 10 can gather and shops and cafes must close at 8pm.

How Often Will Players be Tested?

All of the players and backroom staff members are tested three days or two days before leaving their country. They are tested again on the eve of their first match. UEFA will receive test results at least six hours before the kickoff.

What Happens If Players Show Covid-19 Symptoms?

Any player or coach that develops Covid-19 symptoms must immediately self-isolate and contact the authorities.

What Happens If Several Players are Infected?

A team must have at least 13 healthy players, including a goalkeeper, to be able to play. If a team does not have 13 players, UEFA can authorise the postponement of the match.

If the match cannot be re-arranged, the team without the necessary number of players is considered responsible and forfeits the match 3-0.

Who Has Access to the Stadium on Match Days?

Teams can have a maximum of 45 people for each match. In addition, they can bring a maximum of 10 officials, such as the club president and board members.

Any individual entering a stadium on match day must undergo a temperature check, fill in a form, use handwash and wear a mask.

What Rules Govern Changing Rooms?

Social distancing and the circulation of air must be optimal in all the changing rooms.

Saunas, ice baths, swimming pools and jacuzzis are all closed and fitness equipment must be disinfected after use.

What About the Referees?

Referees, UEFA officials and stadium workers have to respect social-distancing rules and wear masks. Referees and officials must undergo tests.

Are the Ballboys Tested?

There are likely to be up to six ballboys in the stadium for the Champions League games. They must wear masks and use handwash after each training session, pre-match warm-up and half-time. And they must stay 2m away from the players at all times. — AFP