Two European soccer giants, Atlético Madrid and Chelsea, will meet within the Champions League on Tuesday. The website of this a lot anticipated recreation? Bucharest, Romania.
On Wednesday, Manchester City will play the German staff Borussia Mönchengladbach. That recreation will probably be in Budapest, the Hungarian capital, the place the English champion Liverpool beat Germany’s RB Leipzig final week.
In the Europa League, the continent’s second-tier membership championship, impartial websites are actually virtually as widespread as home video games. Last week, Spanish and English groups performed in Italy, and groups from Norway and Germany met in Spain. On Thursday, every week after the London membership Arsenal performed to a draw towards Portugal’s Benfica in Rome, the groups are set to meet once more within the second leg of their not-home-and-home tie close to Athens.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc with worldwide sports activities schedules for a yr, and that chaos continues to have an effect on soccer’s largest membership tournaments. The causes — authorities edicts, journey restrictions and quarantine guidelines — fluctuate round Europe. In some nations, groups are nonetheless allowed to journey to and from their opponents’ stadiums with out situation. In others, nations have blocked guests from total nations, or drawn up onerous guidelines that make such journey impractical in a soccer season when groups typically play two or three video games every week.
UEFA, the European soccer governing physique that runs the competitions, has determined that if restrictions adversely have an effect on any recreation, will probably be performed at a impartial website the place journey is permitted. But the choice to play knockout video games in locations seemingly chosen at random has led to confusion, and not a bit of grumbling.