UEFA have gifted Arsenal, and most teams playing in the Women’s Champions League final 8, a lifeline by allowing registration of players signed for next season 2020/21 in this year’s tournament.
Originally UEFA stated that clubs could only use registered players signed before the original knock-out tournament date, i.e. players signed in the January transfer window or before.
Then an update came on Friday:
The @UEFA Executive Committee has decided allow each club to register 6 new players for the quarter-finals onward.
All 6 players may have been fielded for another club in a previous round, but only a maximum of 3 can have played for another quarter-finalist. pic.twitter.com/AJ5SidEa2H
— #UWCL (@UWCL) July 10, 2020
There is no doubt that the integrity of the competition is compromised by doing this, but Arsenal could have ended up in a situation with the team playing three games in nine days with only 16 players.
There was also the risk of Atletico Madrid playing in the final eight with no senior keeper, using a 17 or 16-year-old in goal.
UEFA made the following statement: “As most clubs were unable to extend existing contracts due to the additional financial burden, the UEFA Executive Committee has decided to allow the registration of six new players”.
In fact, many teams have made significant changes during the summer transfer window.
For example the two German teams, Wolfsburg and FC Bayern:
In France, the title holders Lyon managed to extend English duo Lucy Bronze and Alex Greenwood’s contracts until August before they move to Manchester City, but they have also made some big signings: Sakina Karchaoui, Dolores “Lola” Gallardo, Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, Ellie Carpenter. Plus loan players returning: Jessy Roux, Emelyne Laurent, Melvine Malard.
PSG have also made some signings after losing a good number of players: Benedicte Simon, Charlotte Voll and the former Chelsea winger, Ramonna Bachmann.
In Scotland, Glasgow City have announced three players have left but no new signings yet. They have actually relied on a donation from James Anderson to make the tournament as the costs of testing and chartering a flight were too much for an independent team like them.
Overall, many new players will be registered with only Barcelona and Glasgow City having quite stable squads so far:
Rough list of players who can now represent their new clubs in the UWCL next month. New signigs plus players who weren't previously registered.
Shout if I've missed anyone… pic.twitter.com/DE5WNbC2Ay
— Rich Laverty (@RichJLaverty) July 10, 2020
Arsenal have to win the tournament if they want to come back for the 2020/21 edition as they finished third in the league behind Chelsea and Manchester City.
A TV deal should be in place so that fans can watch the games as the final eight will be played behind closed doors due to the current pandemic.
Here is the full schedule:
Friday 21 August
Glasgow City vs Wolfsburg (5 PM BST: Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastián)
Atlético Madrid vs Barcelona (5 PM BST: San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao)
Saturday 22 August
Arsenal vs Paris Saint-Germain (7 PM BST: Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastián)
Lyon vs Bayern München (7 PM BST: San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao)
Tuesday 25 August
2: Glasgow City/Wolfsburg vs Atlético/Barcelona (7 PM BST: Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastián)
Wednesday 26 August
1: Arsenal/Paris vs Lyon/Bayern (7 PM BST: San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao)
Sunday 30 August
Winner semi-final 2 vs Winner semi-final 1 (KO time tbc: Anoeta Stadium, San Sebastián)