Soccer

RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool Champions League tie moved to Budapest due to COVID-19 restrictions in Germany

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The Champions League round of 16 first leg match between RB Leipzig and Liverpool has been moved to Budapest.

COVID-19 restrictions in Germany mean that Red Bull Arena is unable to host the Premier League champions. The German interior ministry rejected a request from RB Leipzig for Liverpool to be granted an exemption for the match, which is due to take place on February 16 at the Puskas Arena in the Hungarian capital.

“UEFA would like to thank RB Leipzig and Liverpool FC for their close cooperation and assistance in finding a solution to the issue at hand, as well as the Hungarian Football Federation for their support and agreeing to host the match in question,” European football’s governing body said in a statement.

Germany has banned all flights from the United Kingdom until February 17 due to mutated version of the coronavirus that have been prevalent in the country since before Christmas. No exemption was made for elite sportsmen as has been the case on other occasions over the past year with the interior ministry stating on rejecting RB Leipzig’s application: “The Corona Protection Ordinance passed by the German government last Friday provides for only a few exceptions and no special regulations for professional athletes.”

Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in north London had been considered as an alternative option with the onus on Leipzig to find a suitable venue. They must also cover any additional costs incurred for moving the game to the Puskas Arena, which also hosted September’s Super Cup match between Bayern Munich and Sevilla.

Liverpool had faced a similar issue earlier in their Champions League campaign and came close to playing their final group game in Dortmund because of COVID issues in Denmark. Midtjylland were ultimately able to host the game, a 1-1 draw. 



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