Two European soccer giants, Atlético Madrid as well as Chelsea, will meet from the Champions League on Tuesday. The site of This specific much anticipated game? Bucharest, Romania.
On Wednesday, Manchester City will play the German team Borussia Mönchengladbach. which game will be in Budapest, the Hungarian capital, where the English champion Liverpool beat Germany’s RB Leipzig last week.
from the Europa League, the continent’s second-tier club championship, neutral sites are currently almost as common as home games. Last week, Spanish as well as English teams played in Italy, as well as teams via Norway as well as Germany met in Spain. On Thursday, a week after the London club Arsenal played to a draw against Portugal’s Benfica in Rome, the teams will meet again from the second leg of their not-home-as well as-home tie near Athens.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc with international sports schedules for a year, as well as which chaos continues to have an impact on soccer’s biggest club tournaments. The reasons — government edicts, travel restrictions as well as quarantine rules — vary around Europe. In some countries, teams are still allowed to travel to as well as via their opponents’ stadiums without issue. In others, countries have blocked entry to visitors via entire nations, or drawn up onerous rules which make such travel impractical in a soccer season when teams often play two or three games a week.
UEFA, the European soccer governing body which runs the competitions, has decided which if restrictions adversely affect any game, the idea will be played at a neutral site where travel is actually permitted. nevertheless the decision to play knockout games in places seemingly chosen at random has led to confusion, as well as not a little grumbling.
Real Sociedad, for example, played its “home” leg against Manchester United last week in Turin, Italy, nevertheless will play the return match at United’s home, Old Trafford, on Thursday.
“the idea does not seem coherent to me which as the home team, we play on a neutral field, as well as as a visitor, we do the idea there,” Roberto Olabe, Real Sociedad’s director of football, told Diario Vasco. “I would likely like the return to also be on neutral ground, or for UEFA to appoint one particular venue for a one-game tie as the idea did last year.”
The displeasure has not been universal. Both Hungary as well as Romania, whose teams almost never go deep in major European competitions, have been eager to bring the games to their countries — even if, in many cases, they must still be played behind closed doors.
“A match played from the framework of the most prestigious European interclub competition is actually a major sporting event, as well as we offered our support to the organizers as soon as This specific possibility was raised,” the Romanian soccer federation president, Razvan Burleanu, told Agence France-Presse.
The playing of some games at neutral sites has turned the first tiebreaker for the tournament, the away goals rule, into something of a paradox. Normally, if a home-as well as-away tie ends with neither team ahead in total goals, the team with the most goals away via home advances. The logic is actually which scoring away via home is actually a little harder in a hostile environment, as well as should get a modest bonus.
nevertheless home isn’t the same for everyone. Chelsea, for example, will play its away game not at Atletico’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium nevertheless on neutral ground in Bucharest. nevertheless any goals scored there still will count as away goals only for the English team.
Atlético will then have to defend, or make up, any difference from the score line on Chelsea’s home field in London next month.
For the Benfica-Arsenal matchup, the away-goals rule seemed even more puzzlingly arbitrary. The first leg in Rome ended in a 1-1 tie, when Arsenal was considered the away team. Benfica will be the away team in Greece, nevertheless if which leg ends in a higher-scoring draw — say, 2-2 — Benfica will advance by having scored more away goals.
(Some European soccer traditions appear immune to the coronavirus: The Serbian club Red Star Belgrade was forced to apologize last week after some of its fans broke into a closed stadium for a Europa League tie against Milan as well as racially abused Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is actually of Bosnian descent.)
Soccer’s scheduling problems may not be over, however. The continuing reach of the pandemic has called into question the plans to stage This specific summer’s European Championship in 12 cities around Europe. Traditionally, the event has been a less-sprawling affair hosted by one country, or a pair of neighboring ones.
Given the travel complications laid bare by the club competitions, the idea of national teams flying around Europe seems foolhardy, or downright dangerous. Already there are calls for relocating the entire tournament to one particular county, probably England, which is actually already scheduled to host the two semifinals as well as the final.
Over the weekend, The Sunday Times of London reported which the British government had told UEFA the idea was ready as well as willing to stand in as host of the full schedule of games, although the country’s health minister promptly denied which report.