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Chelsea’s Kante and Loftus-Cheek omitted from U.S. tour due to COVID vaccination status

Soccer Football – Premier League – Chelsea v West Ham United – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – April 24, 2022 Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante applauds fans after the match REUTERS/Hannah Mckay

(Reuters) – Chelsea midfielders N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not feature in the club’s pre-season tour to the United States due to their COVID-19 vaccination status, the Premier League side said on Saturday.

Entry rules for the U.S. say that all visitors over 18, barring American citizens and other limited exceptions, must be double vaccinated against the virus.

It was unclear whether the two players were unvaccinated or had received only one dose.

“N’Golo Kante and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will not travel due to their Covid vaccination status,” Chelsea said in a statement https://www.chelseafc.com/en/news/article/chelseas-confirmed-usa-tour-squad.

Loftus-Cheek tested positive for COVID-19 in August last year while France international Kante returned a positive test ahead of a Champions League group game against Juventus the following month.

Manager Thomas Tuchel said at the time that did not know how many of his players had been vaccinated and although he had taken the jab, he would not force others to do so.

Left back Ben Chilwell and winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, who both missed large chunks of last season through injury, were included in the 29-man squad that will play three games in the U.S starting with Club America on July 16.

Chelsea, who finished third in the league last season, kick off the new campaign with a trip to Everton on Aug. 6.

(Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)