Sources told Reuters that Saudi Arabia has waived the requirements of full vaccination against “Covid-19” for visitors to allow football players to participate in the Spanish Super Cup on its soil.
The Kingdom requires full vaccination to enter its territory, according to the rules published on the government’s website.
And 3 sources said that the authorities had given exceptions after negotiations with the Spanish Football Association to allow Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao players to play in Saudi Arabia in the competition between January 10-16.
Brazil coach excludes Lodi due to vaccination
Brazil coach Tite announced on Thursday that Atletico Madrid defender Renan Lodi would not be called up for the next two World Cup qualifiers because he had not received full vaccinations.
Lodi is currently in Saudi Arabia and participated as a substitute with Atletico during their 1-2 defeat against Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final yesterday, Thursday.
A source close to the player told Reuters that he received the first dose of the vaccination and is scheduled to receive the second dose on the 31st of this month. The source indicated that he had not received the vaccination earlier because he had contracted COVID-19.
In Madrid, where Lodi resides, the period between vaccination and infection with the virus was 6 months until August 2021 and then reduced to one month.
A positive Lodi test result came out in April 2020.
And Atletico stated, in a brief statement, that “all the players and members of the mission complied with the health and sports requirements required to enter the country (Saudi Arabia) and participate in the tournament, as happened in the rest of the competitions in which we participate.”
It was not possible to obtain a comment from the Saudi authorities.
The Spanish Football Association refused to comment on Lodi’s position, or to indicate the presence of any player or crew member who entered Saudi Arabia and did not receive a full vaccination.
And the Spanish Super Cup moved to Saudi Arabia after an agreement that extends until 2029, according to which the Spanish Federation will receive 30 million euros (34 million dollars) annually.
The athletes’ attitude towards vaccination was highlighted ahead of the Australian Open.
Doubts were raised about the participation of world number one Novak Djokovic in the tournament, as the Australian government has not yet decided whether to cancel the Serbian player’s visa for a second time due to concerns about his obtaining a medical exemption from vaccination.
Djokovic caused outrage in Australia when he announced that he was heading to Melbourne after obtaining a medical exemption from the requirements for visitors.