LONDON -- Chelsea's plans for next week's FIFA Club World Cup have been thrown into disarray after head coach Thomas Tuchel tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
Tuchel is isolating and was not with the squad for Chelsea's FA Cup fourth-round tie against Plymouth Argyle with his assistant Arno Michels instead handed responsibility to shepherd the European champions past League One opposition. The positive test also throws the manager's involvement in the Club World Cup into doubt.
U.K. government regulations require anyone with a confirmed case to self isolate for at least six days from when they first displayed symptoms. Tuchel was at Chelsea's Cobham training ground on Friday for his pre-match press conference and training sessions; it would suggest he is unlikely to play a significant role in the Club World Cup semifinal, which will take place in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
A further complication for the Chelsea head coach could come in traveling abroad with Abu Dhabi requiring any visitors to the country to both provide a negative PCR test before travelling and successfully undergo a test on arrival. Should the latter be negative, Tuchel would obliged to isolate away from his team. The final of the competition is on Saturday, Feb. 12.
In his absence, Tuchel named a strong squad as Chelsea continue their bid for success on five fronts this season with his team bearing only one change -- Andreas Christensen replacing Thiago Silva after the latter's involvement with Brazil -- from the side that had beaten Tottenham prior to the international break. US international Christian Pulisic is not involved and will join up with the squad before they travel to the United Arab Emirates.