Leipzig's clash with Liverpool threatened by new German travel rules

As a German national, Jurgen Klopp would be allowed into Germany but most of his team would be barred under new Covid-19 restrictions
As a German national, Jurgen Klopp would be allowed into Germany but most of his team would be barred under new Covid-19 restrictions John Walton POOL/AFP
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Berlin (AFP)

Germany's strict new travel restrictions have cast doubt over RB Leipzig's Champions League last 16 meeting with Liverpool, after a government spokesperson told AFP on Monday that the rules do not exempt professional athletes.

The ban on travellers from countries hit by new, more contagious coronavirus variants such as Britain contains "no special provision for professional sportspeople", an interior ministry spokesperson told AFP.

Introduced on Saturday and in place until February 17, the new rules could scupper Premier League champions Liverpool's trip to Leipzig's Red Bull Arena the day before.

Unless they are granted special exemption, Liverpool staff and players would be unable to enter Germany from Britain according to the rules.

While coach Jurgen Klopp would be allowed into the country as a German national, he would have to leave most of his team behind.

Germany introduced the tougher travel restrictions on certain countries in a bid to limit the spread of new coronavirus variants.

The countries affected by the ban are Britain, Ireland, Portugal, Brazil and South Africa, as well as the southern African kingdoms of Lesotho and Eswatini.

The entry restrictions cover arrivals by air, bus, rail and sea, and allow exceptions for medical workers and others in key jobs.

Yet the interior ministry spokesperson said Monday that there would only be "a few, narrow exemptions".