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Chelsea's Champions League Squad List Released; Two Glaring Omissions

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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27:  Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Norwich City at Stamford Bridge on August 27, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Romelu Lukaku of Chelsea looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Norwich City at Stamford Bridge on August 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
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NB: There's some question as to just how accurate UEFA's recently-released squad lists are, since Manchester City are completely missing and Arsenal have Sunderland striker Nicklas Bendtner on their squad. But, frankly, I'm not cynical enough not to trust UEFA to get their own squad lists accurate. If they prove wrong, well.. let's say I wouldn't be surprised. They also have a surprising number of players born before 1/1/90 marked as list B players, and that can't be accurate by their own rules.  But for now, let's assume they're right.

Well this is curious. Chelsea FC's Champions League roster is out on the UEFA site, and neither Romelu Lukaku nor Ryan Bertrand have been included in the squad. Both are victims of UEFA homegrown rules that are very different from the Premier League's - home-grown players are split into 'club-trained' and 'association-trained' and under-21 players don't received a blanket exception to the roster registration rules, as they do in league play.

By this definition, Chelsea have eighteen home grown players on the list, because they have 16 normally (excluding Michael Essien) and two more get added on in the shape of Oriel Romeu and Lukaku. The maximum that they're allowed is 17, and so someone has to go. For Chelsea, that someone is Lukaku. It's a little bit strange to me that someone who'll count as club-trained under UEFA's rules three years from now is not allowed to play as a trainee until the 2013/14 Champions League season, but hey. I don't write these rules.

Even weirder is the lack of Ryan Bertrand, 22. Bertrand is, of course, Ashley Cole's primary backup, and he's been with Chelsea since he was 16. Club-trained, you'd have thought? Nope. Bertrand counts as association trained, despite having been a part of Chelsea's organisation since 2006 because he's been on loan too much. Getting playing time. I mean, I guess you can technically see why that would be, but the idea that a club has a disincentive to loan players out because of UEFA's roster rules is a little bit jarring and, to me, unsatisfactory.

Here's the full list, assuming the names of the players dropped are accurate:

International (17): Petr Cech, Henrique Hilario; Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, Alex, Jose Bosingwa, Paulo Ferreira; Oriol Romeu, Ramires, John Obi Mikel, Raul Meireles; Fernando Torres, Juan Mata, Didier Drogba, Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou, Nicolas Anelka.

Club-trained (1): John Terrry.

Association-trained (4): Ross Turnbull; Ashley Cole; Frank Lampard; Daniel Sturridge.

The youth-level players, including Josh McEachran, are all eligible to play on the 'B' list, assuming they've been with the club for two years (except on loan!).

Much is being made of the Lukaku exclusion, but since he's eligible for Premier League play and will probably get his fair share of league time and may well start in the Carling Cup, there's no real reason to worry about him not getting the last start of the group stages. He'll be fine - this is hardly going to cripple the young man, even if I'm sure he'd have loved to have represented Chelsea on such a grand stage.

What's significantly more annoying is the absence of Bertrand, which means that Ashley Cole's primary backup is either Paulo Ferreira or David Luiz playing left back, neither of which are particularly palatable options. It's worth pointing out at this stage that as Patrick van Aanholt played for Chelsea against Marseille last season, he was almost certainly eligible for inclusion on the 'B' list this year - had he not just gone on loan to Wigan Athletic. And now we apparently don't have a real backup leftback anymore.

Fortunately, this is only six games, and six not-very-important ones at that (unless Chelsea don't win them, at which point they become exceptionally important). Nothing about the released lists are the end of the world... but yeah, there's no other way to put it: These rules are kind of stupid.