Mon. Feb 18th, 2019

Arsenal’s game with Vorskla switched to Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev

Arsenal’s Europa League game with Vorskla switched to Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev as UEFA’s emergency panel make last-minute move

  • Arsenal’s Europa League game against Vorskla has been moved by UEFA
  • Original venue had been the Oleksiy Butovsky Vorskla Stadium in Poltava
  • But Thursday’s game will now take place at Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev
  • The move came after martial law was declared in some regions of the Ukraine

Kieran Gill for the Daily Mail

Arsenal’s Europa League tie with Vorskla Poltava was seriously disrupted on Tuesday night when UEFA relocated the match 200 miles away to Kiev at less than 48 hours’ notice.

European football’s governing body sprung the surprise on Unai Emery’s side after they to decided to move the Group E game to the Ukrainian captain because of ‘security concerns’.

Ukraine’s parliament imposed martial law amid rising tensions with Russia on Monday, though UEFA reassured Arsenal at the time that the fixture would still be played in Poltava. 

A general view of Kiev’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium which will host Arsenal’s game against Vorskla

In a statement on Tuesday night, however, they said: ‘UEFA’s Emergency Panel has taken the decision to relocate FC Vorskla’s UEFA Europa League group stage match against Arsenal FC from the city of Poltava, following the introduction of martial law into certain regions in Ukraine.

‘The match will now take place at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev on Thursday November 29 at 18.55CET (5.55pm UK time).

‘UEFA will continue to monitor and assess the security situation in Ukraine in the coming days before making any decision on potentially relocating other matches.’

The switch to the Ukrainian capital was a logistical nightmare for Arsenal staff, who had already finalised their travel and accommodation to play in Poltava. 

Olimpiyskiy Stadium staged the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool

Olimpiyskiy Stadium staged the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool

At the time of the announcement, UEFA had not confirmed vital information to the Premier League club, including whether the match would be played behind closed doors.

Sportsmail understands anyone who had tickets for the match in Poltava, whose stadium holds less than 25,000, will be able to gain access to the Olimpiyskiy Stadium, which holds over 70,000.

Some supporters and members of the media had already travelled to the city of Poltava but will now have to make their way to Kiev, as well as book new accommodation.

The conflict in the country started after the Russian capture of three Ukrainian vessels off the coast of Crimea on Sunday. The move was described as an ‘act of aggression’.

Capacity at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium is 70,050 but Thursday's attendance will be much lower

Capacity at the Olimpiyskiy Stadium is 70,050 but Thursday’s attendance will be much lower

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