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Liverpool denied entry to Germany for UCL match against RB Leipzig

Liverpool denied entry to Germany for UCL match against RB Leipzig
RB Leipzig could attempt to convince Liverpool to swap the home games, but the Premier League side is reportedly unwilling to do so. File Photo by Peter Powell/EPA-EFE

Feb. 4 (UPI) -- The Champions League match between Liverpool and Bundesliga member RB Leipzig on Feb. 16 won't be played at Leipzig's Red Bull Arena after Germany barred the Premier League club from entering the country.

Last week, the German government banned incoming flights from the United Kingdom and other high-risk countries to prevent the spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

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RB Leipzig pushed for an exception, but the German Ministry of the Interior confirmed Thursday that the special request was rejected.

"The Corona Protection Order agreed by the federal government last Friday envisions only a few exceptions and no special arrangement for professional athletes," the ministry said in a statement. "The federal police has told the RB Leipzig club today that the circumstances of the given cause do not meet the requirements for an exemption."

Leipzig now has until Monday to propose an alternate location -- likely in a neutral country -- to UEFA. Leipzig also could travel to Anfield and back for the first leg of the tournament, as German passport holders and residents are permitted to travel to Germany.

RB Leipzig could attempt to convince Liverpool to swap the home games, but the Premier League side is reportedly unwilling to do so.

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Under the coronavirus-related regulations for the Champions League, the home club is responsible for the organization of a neutral venue.

"We are in talks and we are working on a solution," Leipzig executive Oliver Mintzlaff said Thursday. "We will be playing somewhere."

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