Courtois to play against Blues

LONDON - Chelsea have been drawn to face Atlético Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals, having been told by Uefa that a clause requiring the Spaniards to fork out up to €6m for the goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to play against his parent club is "null, void and unenforceable".

Unlike in the Premier League, where loan players cannot face their parent clubs, there are no such restrictions in the Champions League.

Courtois, who is in his third season on loan at Atlético, played well for the La Liga leaders against Chelsea last season in the Spanish club's European Super Cup victory and, if that was slightly embarrassing for Chelsea, it may have motivated them to insert the clause into Courtois's latest deal.

However, Uefa has now stepped in and warned Chelsea they will face disciplinary proceedings should they attempt to make Atlético pay the sum, despite the contractual position.

It remains to be seen whether Atlético would select Courtois and risk damaging relations with Chelsea, given they want to take the 21-year-old back on loan next season. Chelsea are also known to be prioritising the signing of Atlético's striker Diego Costa.

In a statement, Uefa explained: "Both the Champions League and the disciplinary regulations contain clear provisions which strictly forbid any club to exert, or attempt to exert, any influence whatsoever over the players that another club may (or may not) field in a match."

It added: "It follows that any provision in a private contract between clubs which might function in such a way as to influence who a club fields in a match is null, void and unenforceable so far as Uefa is concerned.

"Furthermore, any attempt to enforce such a provision would be a clear violation of both the Uefa Champions League and the Uefa disciplinary regulations and would therefore be sanctioned accordingly."

Real Madrid will face Bayern Munich in the other semi-final, with the first legs taking place on April 22/23 and the return the following week. – The Guardian

Champions League semi-finals

April 22: Atletico Madrid v Chelsea         

April 23: Real Madrid v Bayern Munich

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