Good news for Atlético Madrid this morning. It had been rumoured that were they to be drawn against Chelsea in the semi-finals Champions League, their goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, on loan from the London club, would be unable to play unless a fee of around £4m per match was paid.
According to a Uefa statement: "The integrity of sporting competition is a fundamental principle":
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.
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.
European regulations on players playing against their parent clubs are more forgiving than in England. Last season, Mo Bangura played for Swedish side Elfsborg against Celtic while on loan from the Scottish club, while Fernando Morientes scored for Monaco against Real Madrid in 2004. So that's that. Now, watch as the draw happens, Chelsea get Real Madrid, and we can all forget that this clause ever existed. Or watch Roman Abramovich attempt to sue Uefa into oblivion.
Or, god forbid, Chelsea play Atlético and Courtois throws one in at the near post.