Arsenal’s match against Vorksla Poltava WILL go ahead despite political tensions which saw game moved 185 miles to Kiev
- Arsenal’s tie against Vorskla Poltava will go ahead in Kiev, UEFA have confirmed
- The Europa League match was in doubt after it was moved 185 miles to Kiev
- The implementation of martial law in some areas of Ukraine saw it moved
- Despite fears Vorskla would not play, fears have been eased and it will go ahead
Press Association Sport Staff
Arsenal’s Europa League clash with Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava will take place at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev tonight, UEFA has confirmed.
The build-up to the game has been overshadowed by the confusion over where it might take place.
The governing body announced on Tuesday evening that the match had been moved from Poltava to the capital, 185 miles away, because of safety concerns after martial law was declared in some regions of Ukraine.
Arsenal boss Unai Emery will be relieved as the match against Vorskla Poltava was confirmed
A general view of Kiev’s Olimpiyskiy Stadium, which will host Arsenal’s game against Vorskla
Vorskla themselves then made some suggestions the game would not go ahead.
The hosts said they were not told of the stadium switch and were on Wednesday night still arguing that the match should be moved back to Poltava, though their players did travel to Kiev.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, one of the few senior Arsenal players to have travelled to Ukraine, admitted on Wednesday it was a big blow for their opponents to lose home advantage. Despite Vorskla’s fury, the fixture will be played.
Staff at the 70,000-seater stadium in Kiev had covers over the pitch and were using heaters
UEFA confirmed on Thursday that the Group E match will be played in Kiev as planned.
Around 500 Arsenal fans had been expected to attend the Europa League clash but it remains to be seen how many will make it to the 70,000-seater Olympic Stadium on Thursday night.
Arsenal, who have already qualified, can top Group E with a win, while victory for Vorskla, who feel UEFA have treated them unfairly, would give them a chance of qualification.