Ralf Rangnick’s first Champions League match at the helm of Manchester United may not take place at Old Trafford as planned, according to reports.
The 63-year-old German was confirmed on Monday as the Red Devils’ new interim boss, after he last week proved to be the man who was to be Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s short-term successor.
But the venue for his first European match at the helm has been wounded in doubt, with uncertainty over whether the Swiss clothing Young Boys can travel to Old Trafford on December 8 due to the Omicron coronavirus variant, according to The Telegraph.
The report claims that UEFA is trying to find out if the Young Boys squad will be back in quarantine in Switzerland for 10 days after the clash in the UK next week.
It reports that if the elite sport’s exception rule does not apply, then a draw will be moved to a venue in a neutral country or postponed if a neutral venue cannot be found.
There will be chaos around tickets and travel costs if the venue were to be moved with just over a week left, while it is still unclear whether fans will be allowed to travel to the match.
Man United’s Champions League clash against Young Boys ‘could be played in neutral’
Ralf Rangnick’s first United Champions League match may have to be moved from Old Trafford
Switzerland unveiled its first ‘likely’ Omicron case on Monday, while Swiss voters backed the government’s pandemic response plan in a referendum by a clear majority 24 hours earlier.
It has paved the way for a continuation of extraordinary measures to stem the rising tide of Covid-19 cases.
The government’s count of Sunday’s vote showed a wider-than-expected majority of 62 percent of voters supporting laws requiring Covid health passes to enter bars, restaurants and certain events.
Countries rush to introduce new border rules in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus Omicron variant
It happened when Switzerland reported its first likely case of the Omicron variant on Sunday, when access requirements were tightened to control the spread.
The case concerns a person who returned to Switzerland from South Africa about a week ago, the Federal Office of Public Health said on Twitter.
Testing will clarify the situation in the coming days, it added. Switzerland has announced that it has banned all Britons with immediate effect due to concerns over the rising incidence of Covid supermutant Omicron.
United advanced to the knockout phase of the Champions League last week after caretaker Michael Carrick guided them to a 2-0 win over Villarreal.
What do we know about the Omicron variant?
Researchers have said they are concerned about the B.1.1.529 variant, named by the World Health Organization as Omicron, as it has about 30 different mutations – twice the amount present in the Delta variant. The mutations contain traits that are seen in all the other variants, but also traits that have not been seen before.
British scientists first became aware of the new strain on November 23 after samples were uploaded to a site for tracking coronavirus variants from South Africa, Hong Kong and then Botswana.
On Friday, it was confirmed that cases had been identified in Israel and Belgium, but at present there are no known cases in the UK.
Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), told Good Morning Britain on Friday that sequencing is being carried out around the UK to determine if cases have already been imported.
Work is also underway to see if the new variant can cause new infection in people who have already had coronavirus or a vaccine, or if declining immunity may play a role.
Professor James Naismith, director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute in Oxford, has said the new variant ‘almost certainly’ will make vaccines less effective, although they will still offer protection.
Pfizer / BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine against Covid-19, is already studying the ability of the new variant to evade vaccines.