RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia waived its requirement for visitors to be fully vaccinated to allow soccer players from Spain to compete in the Spanish Super Cup on Saudi soil, sources have told Reuters.
According to the guidelines posted on the government’s website, full vaccination is required to enter the Kingdom.
Two sources close to the matter claim exceptions were made after officials from the Spanish Football Association worked with local authorities to allow all staff and players from Real Madrid and Barcelona to travel to the tournament. It runs from January. 10 through 16. Tite,
Brazil’s coach, announced that Renan Lodi, Atletico Madrid’s defender, was being dropped from his team for the two World Cup qualifiers. This is because the player had not received a complete course of COVID -19 vaccinations.
Lodi currently resides in Saudi Arabia, where Atletico Madrid will face Athletic Bilbao in Thursday’s second semi-final.
A source close to the player said that he had received the first dose of vaccine and was scheduled to receive the second on January. 31. According to the source, Lodi hadn’t been vaccinated before because he had contract COVID -19..
In Madrid (where Lodi is located), the wait period for vaccination against the virus was six months from the time that Lodi contracted COVID -19 to August 2021.. Since then, it has been one month.
Lodi was positive for COVID -19 during April 2020.
” All our players and members meet the sports and health requirements to enter the country and participate in the competition,” Atletico stated in a brief statement.
Saudi authorities did not respond to a request for comment.
The Spanish FA (RFEF), declined to comment on Lodi or tell if any other players or staff members were not fully vaccinated.
The Spanish Super Cup was transferred to the country by the RFEF after it reached an agreement with the Saudis for a contract that will pay the governing body 30 millions of euros ($34million) per year. The vaccination status of tennis players has been in the news during the Australian Open.
Uncertainty looms over the participation of world number one Novak Djokovic in the tournament. The Australian government is yet to decide if it will cancel his visa due to concerns over his exemption from Australia’s vaccine mandate.
The 34-year old, who is a vaccine sceptic caused anger in Australia by announcing that he was going to Melbourne with a medical exemption to the requirement for visitors to inoculate against COVID -19.
(Editing By Toby Davis )
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