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Lilies sweat over draw


Dundalk manager Vinny Perth. Photo: Sportsfile

Dundalk manager Vinny Perth. Photo: Sportsfile

Dundalk manager Vinny Perth. Photo: Sportsfile

Dundalk boss Vinny Perth admits that travel issues and logistics due to Covid-19 are a real concern for his club ahead of today's draw for the qualifying rounds of the Champions League.

The Lilywhites will discover the identity of their opponents for the first qualifying round today but apart from the usual burden of trying to make an impact at that level, the issue is complicated by Covid-19.

Uefa have already decided to ditch the usual two-legged rounds and play the early rounds as a one-off game, home advantage decided by the draw, but travel and quarantine issues arising from the pandemic are real concerns. The ideal scenario for Dundalk is a draw at home to a club from a country on the Irish government-approved green list, erasing any worries over travel.

But if Dundalk are drawn at home to a club from a country which is currently not on the green list, with the away team not permitted to travel to Ireland, the tie would have to be moved to a neutral venue.

If they are drawn away to a club from a nation not on the 10-strong green list where travel is not allowed, the other club would either have to select a neutral venue which is on the green list or, failing that, play in either of the Uefa-nominated hubs open to Irish citizens (Greece or Hungary).

If a venue cannot be found, Uefa could award a 3-0 defeat against the club who were unable to fulfil the fixture due to their own government's restrictions.

"It's a real issue," says Perth. "You could be given a 3-0 defeat because you're not allowed to travel to a country or you could get a 3-0 win against someone as well. We have to wait as a club, assess it then and see where it takes us."

Uefa have told all clubs that they cannot use scheduled flights and must charter their own plane, though Uefa will provide €40,000 in compensation.

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