French vaccination stance leaves question mark over Chelsea Champions League fixture

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Chelsea’s Champions League tussle with Lille could be moved to a neutral venue after the French government insisted all sportsmen competing on their shores would have to be vaccinated.

The Blues were fortunate enough to draw Lille both in the initial and re-draw at the butchered Champions League ceremony.

Thomas Tuchel will fancy his chances of navigating the European champions into the next stage of the competition, but the road to the quarter-finals isn’t without its dangers.

The French government have recently clarified that any and all elite sportsmen or woman competing in the country would have to have been vaccinated against COVID-19, without any exemptions.

Not only does that mean that force Novak Djokovic into surrendering his French Open title, but it could pose problems for Chelsea, with a visit to Lille currently pencilled in for March.

While we assume that there are those within the Chelsea squad who have not received a COVID-19 vaccination, they have, of course, not been named. Medical confidentiality ought to be respected.

It’s for that reason that this game may well have to move to a neutral venue, not only because unvaxxed players would miss out, but also because their vaccination status would be inadvertently implied.

For some, that would just be their own fault and UEFA shouldn’t be taking drastic measures to pander to the unvaccinated, who the authorities are working on convincing.

However, it sets a dangerous precedent and we can’t help but think that creating a ‘us vs them’ narrative with unvaccinated footballers is only going to prove counterproductive.

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