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Incoming Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel can ESCAPE quarantine to attend matches and take training

Thomas Tuchel is flying to London today and will be able to avoid quarantine so he can take Chelsea training this afternoon and attend matches thanks to a special exemption in Covid rules governing elite sport.

Tuchel is not currently in an elite sporting bubble and would normally be expected to face at least five days in self isolation. 

However, after the abrupt and brutal sacking of Frank Lampard on Monday morning, and with Premier League matches coming thick and fast due to the shortened season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Chelsea believe they need Tuchel in the building as soon as possible. He is set to take training today.

The fast track approach has been criticised by leading public health experts and an MP, who claim it sets a bad example for a football coach to avoid quarantine at a time of national crisis.

Thomas Tuchel is set to be appointed Chelsea’s new manager after Frank Lampard was sacked

The Blues face Wolverhampton Wanderers in a critical encounter at Stamford Bridge tomorrow evening before hosting Burnley on Sunday.

Sportsmail understands that the FA can apply for special exemptions for elite sports people and ancillary staff, including managers and head coaches, even if they are not part of an elite sport bubble.

Under existing rules, anyone travelling to the UK must take a coronavirus test within 72 hours of their travel to the UK and then isolate for 10 days after their arrival.  

However, under the Government’s ‘test to release’ scheme, a person can undertake a test after five days and if it is negative, they are released from quarantine.

The Blues' 2-0 loss to Leicester was the final nail in Lampard's coffin after a poor run of form

The Blues’ 2-0 loss to Leicester was the final nail in Lampard’s coffin after a poor run of form

In contrast, elite sports people can travel or return to the UK and continue to train and compete within their bubble.

But it has now emerged that ‘free agents’ – whether they are players or ancillary staff like coaches – can also be granted exemptions on a case-by-case basis. The Football Association, as the sports governing body, must apply to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, for the exemption.

Once granted, Tuchel would be allowed to attend Chelsea’s training sessions and matches within the first five days of his stay in England, provided he has tested negative for coronavirus.

Tuchel will undergo a PCR test for coronavirus when he arrives in the UK prior to starting work

Tuchel will undergo a PCR test for coronavirus when he arrives in the UK prior to starting work

But Professor Gabriel Scally, a public health expert, told Sportsmail that Tuchel’s exemption from quarantine rules ‘set a bad example’.

‘When it comes to dealing with large public health problems like this, fairness, equality and prioritising people most at risk is really really important,’ said Prof Scally, a member of the Independent Sage, a group of high profile scientists who hold the govermment to account over its response to the coronavirus.

‘All of that is undermined if there are special favours for prominent indivudals, whether wealth businessmen or football coaches.

‘It does set a bad example and for someone in such a prominent position.

‘You can exempt people from the requirements for self isolation but you cannot exempt them from bringing the virus into the country. The very act of travelling at the moment is associated with greater risk.’

Professor John Ashton, from director of public health for the North-West, told the Telegraph: ‘I would expect and hope that the Director of Public Health for London has been consulted and has carried out a full risk assessment.’

The expert said there is an ethical debate around whether he should get ‘special treatment’, given he is not currently in any football bubble. 

‘Surely the time has come when we can’t tolerate special treatment for people just because they’re celebrities or highly paid. We’re already hearing about wealthy people jumping the queue for vaccines, and none of these situations help in keeping the trust of the public.’ 

Chelsea want Tuchel in place as soon as possible to take training and matches

Chelsea want Tuchel in place as soon as possible to take training and matches

QUARANTINE RULES 

Under existing rules, anyone travelling to the UK must take a coronavirus test within 72 hours of their travel and then isolate for 10 days after arrival.  

However, under the Government’s ‘test to release’ scheme, a person can undertake a test after five days and if it is negative, they are released from quarantine.

In contrast, elite sports people can travel or return to the UK and continue to train and compete within their bubble.

‘Free agents’ can also be granted exemptions on a case-by-case basis. The Football Association, as the sports governing body, must apply to the Department for Culture Media and Sport, for the exemption.

 

 

The former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain manager would have to self-isolate when he is not in the Chelsea bubble.

Tuchel is set to arrive at a time when the UK government toughens border controls by putting new arrivals into isolation in airport hotels – a system modelled on Australia.

Government sources said the enforced quarantine regime will be introduced for British nationals returning from high-risk countries where new strains of the virus have been detected, such as South Africa and Brazil. Foreign nationals are already barred from entering the UK from these countries.

Ministers will then look to widen the compulsory hotel quarantine requirement to cover more travellers.  

Tuchel, who was sacked by Paris Saint-Germain last month following the French giants’ below-par start to the defence of their Ligue 1 title, is set to replace Lampard, who was dismissed on Monday after the Blues’ form nosedived in the Premier League. 

The west Londoners were top of the table on December 5 after beating Leeds 3-1, but five defeats in eight league games since then have led to Chelsea slipping to ninth. 

Lampard suffered a 2-0 defeat by Leicester in his last Premier League game and it proved to be the final nail in the Englishman’s coffin. 

Sunday’s FA Cup win over Luton could not prevent him becoming the 10th manager sacked during the Roman Abramovich reign since the Russian owner arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2003.

The former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain manager can join the Chelsea bubble

The former Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain manager can join the Chelsea bubble

The fast-track approach to Tuchel’s arrival is in contrast to the treatment of Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani in October.

Cavani was also a free agent, having left Paris Saint-Germain, which was then under Tuchel’s management, and he was mixing in the community outside of an elite sport bubble.

Talks between the 33-year-old and United advanced quickly on the final day of the transfer window, before he joined United on wages of around £210,000 per week after tax.

Manchester United's Edinson Cavani was forced to quarantine when he arrived as a free agent

Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani was forced to quarantine when he arrived as a free agent

However, Cavani was not allowed to link up with the squad and quarantined for 14 days, missing United’s next game against Newcastle on Saturday, October 17. 

He had to self-isolate at home in accordance with government rules at that time. 

The FA believes that the rules governing the movement of elite sportspeople and free agents has change in the three months since Cavani’s arrival.

The Telegraph has reported that DCMS consider it will be largely the FA’s choice whether to let Tuchel immediately join Chelsea’s bubble if he tests negative after landing in the UK.  

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