Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibault Courtois, who is on loan from Chelsea FC, will be eligible to face his parent club in the Champions League semi-finals, according to an Uefa statement released on Friday.
Premier League club Chelsea and current La Liga leaders Atletico were pitted against each other in the draw for the last-4 of the ongoing tournament conducted in Nyon on Friday noon.
Media reports had earlier speculated that the Belgium goalie- under the terms of the deal that allowed him play for the Spanish club- was doubtful for any potential tie between the ‘Los Roji Blancos’ and the ‘Blues’, be it a semi-finals or final fixture.
The club president, Enrique Cerezo, had reportedly ruled out fielding Courtois in any prospective meeting between both clubs, sighting the payment of a sizeable fee to the London club as a deterrent.
“It’s a number we can’t afford to pay”, Cerezo said.
Reports in Spain had suggested it could cost Atletico £4.9m for the 21-year-old goalkeeper to line up against Chelsea.
But Uefa have now rejected that idea, stressing it contradicts the integrity of sporting competition as clubs cannot influence others’ team sheet.
The Uefa statement read: “Both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA 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 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.”
The statement further warned the consigned clubs to desist from employing such terms of contract in an Uefa competition.
“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”, the statement added.
Meanwhile, Chelsea chief executive, Ron Gourlay, has confirmed that the club will allow Courtois play against them in the Champions League semi-finals.
“The loan was arranged back in the start of the season. He can play against Chelsea, that’s never in doubt,” Gourlay said.
“Regarding the Uefa statement we’ll evaluate that in due course. As far as we are concerned we will comply with loan rules. He can play in both ties against Chelsea if selected. That is fact.”
Courtois is in his third season on loan at Atletico, after failing to make an appearance for his parent club since penning down a five-year deal from Genk in 2011.