London, Wednesday @PeopleSports11
Arsenal will not play their upcoming Europa League group stage match at Vorskla Poltava’s home stadium, following the country’s decision to impose martial law.
It had previously been suggested that the match would simply go ahead as planned at the Oleksiy Butovsky Vorskla Stadium on Thursday, despite president Petro Poroshenko’s month-long period of martial law.
However, the Telegraph report how UEFA’s emergency panel announced that the game would be moved over 200 miles away to the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex in Kiev, the same stadium which hosted the Champions League final earlier this year.
The change of venue will actually be good news for the Gunners as they can fly directly into the capital city, instead of enduring a two-hour bus ride to get to their opponent’s home stadium.
Fans, however, will have to frantically rearrange their travel plans less than two days before kick off, while some will likely already be on their way to Ukraine.
President Poroshenko’s decision to impose martial law came after Russia captured three Ukrainian naval vessels and their crews off the coast of Crimea. It was made to prevent any attempted ground invasion.
Martial law in Ukraine, as the Telegraph outline, allows authorities to regulate the media, restrict public rallies, and mobilise anyone with military experience. This prompted UEFA to take action over the location of the match as they had serious security concerns.
Arsenal are already through to the knockout stages of the Europa League and will be keeping one eye on the north London derby this weekend, something which will likely see the club’s young stars get a run out in Ukraine. -FOTMOB