The Uefa Champions League last 16 is upon us
The second leg of Uefa Champions League last 16 as well as the Europa League matches are scheduled this week. Image Credit: Uefa.com

Nyon: European football governing body Uefa has warned clubs against protocol breaches when Champions League (UCL) and Europa League (UEL) returns this week.

The two tournaments will resume after they were halted abruptly in March due to coronavirus pandemic. The revamped schedule sees teams participating in the two different competitions this month and Uefa has sent out an advisory ahead of the matches.

The clubs have been directed to follow the protocols put in place by Uefa and in case of breaches, future of the venue to host international matches will be in jeopardy.

“Uefa expects all parties to adhere to hygiene best practices both in the controlled match environments, as well as in their private day-to-day lives,” the protocols read as per BBC Sport.

“It is imperative that all precautions set out in this document, as well as the standard hygiene best practices, will be strictly adhered to by all members of these various groups.

“Non-respect of such social norms could have serious consequences for the staging of international matches.”

Several protocols have been put in place for the safety of everyone involved with the two continental tournaments. From wearing masks, to testing of players, to using chartered flights for travel, Uefa have put forward strict rules, which if broken, will attract heavy sanctions.

Uefa had earlier announced that remaining UCL second leg Round of 16 matches will be played in Turin, Manchester, Munich and Barcelona respectively on August 7 and 8.

The quarter-finals will be played in Lisbon between August 12-15 followed by semi-finals on August 18-19. The final will be played at the Stadium of Light in Lisbon on August 23.

As for the Europa League, the last-16 matches will be played on August 6-7 followed by quarter-finals on August 11-12. The semi-finals is scheduled to be played on August 17-18 followed by the finale on August 22.

DOS AND DON’TS

Following are the rules teams and officials must adhere to:

* For matches played behind closed doors, access will be granted to only players, club staff, match officials, accredited media and necessary stadium staff.

* The maximum number of people allowed inside the stadium will depend primarily on its size and restrictions imposed by the local government. Stadium staff should be limited to an “absolute minimum”.

* Stadiums will be divided into four zones (Zone 1: pitch and benches, Zone 2: pitch surroundings, Zone 3: tribunes and stadium interior and Zone 4: stadium exterior).

* No more than 120 people are allowed at a time in Zone 1, and no more than 100 people (including the teams) in Zone 2.

* Each team must appoint a medical liaison officer, preferably the team doctor, to ensure testing protocols and requirements are fulfilled.

* Each team must also appoint a protocol compliance officer to ensure travel, accommodation and hygiene and distancing measures are respected. The officer will travel with the team on away trips.

* Host teams must appoint a hygiene officer to liaise with authorities in reviewing and implementing protocols at the stadium.

* A minimum distance of 2 metres must be observed when social distancing at stadiums (or never less than local guidelines).

* Players have been advised against swapping shirts after the game.

* Club squads and staff will be tested two or three days before an away trip while the home team will be tested one or two days before the match.

* Teams may be tested again the day before the match if required by the local authorities.

* Uefa will receive test results and they should also be delivered to the medical liaison officer 6 hours before kickoff.

* Uefa has recommended teams take charter flights in fully disinfected planes to minimise contact with the public and stay at hotels exclusively reserved for the visiting team.

* For stays during longer tournaments, teams must ensure their laundry is handled by one of their own staff instead of hotel staff.