BARCELONA • Dynamo Kiev will take on Barcelona in their Champions League Group G tie today without nine of their players after several of them tested positive for the coronavirus.
“Due to positive Covid-19 tests, a number of players will not be able to help the team in Barcelona,” the Ukrainian side said in a statement.
Among those who will be missing at the Nou Camp include goalkeepers Georgiy Bushchan and Denys Boyko, defenders Vitaliy Mykolenko and Oleksandr Karavaev, and midfielder Mykola Shaparenko.
Captain Serhiy Sydorchuk is suspended after receiving a red card in their previous game at Ferencvaros, while three other players – Mykyta Burda, Oleksandr Tymchyk and Volodymyr Kostevych – are injured.
Ajax were in the same predicament as the Dutch outfit played Danish side Midtjylland in Group D yesterday without four key players including captain Dusan Tadic and goalkeeper Andre Onana. Two other regular starters, midfielders Davy Klaassen and Ryan Gravenberch, were omitted from their squad along with seven others.
Ajax coach Erik ten Hag was vague about the Covid-19 cluster at his club due to “privacy reasons”, but admitted he had “a number of players who did not get permission to enter Denmark”.
According to Uefa’s Covid-19 protocols, teams are obliged to play their matches as long as they have at least 13 players available.
Separately, Barca plan to hold their presidential elections in the festive season as the La Liga giants try to rebuild following the resignation of previous chief Josep Maria Bartomeu last week.
As per the club’s statutes, the elections, initially set for March, must now be held within the next three months as the post is vacant.
Interim president Carles Tusquets also revealed that the Spanish club intend to hold salary talks with the players, pointing out that the club’s financial situation in the wake of Bartomeu’s departure was “highly worrying”.
Even though the squad took a 70 per cent pay cut during Spain’s national emergency from March to June, Barca still face a reported €300 million (S$478 million) deficit because of the pandemic.
Teams in the Champions League must play, if they have 13 players (including one goalkeeper) available.
“We want to continue to reduce spending in the short term and the most necessary measure is salary renegotiations,” Tusquets said.
“We hope to reach an agreement with the players and non-playing staff.”
BARCELONA V DYNAMO KIEV
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