Europa League: Arsenal, Benfica return leg moved to Greece


Arsenal’s home Europa League tie against Portuguese giants Benfica on February 25 has been switched to Greece because of Covid-19 restrictions in England, UEFA announced on Friday.

The game will be played at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium of Olympiakos at 1655 GMT. The move comes after the first leg of the last 32 tie on February 18 had already been switched from Lisbon to the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

The moves were made necessary after the British government toughened Covid-19 restrictions and ruled that only essential travel to and from Portugal would be permitted, and suspended flights between the countries.

The tie is one of several upcoming European clashes to have been impacted by the travel restrictions.

Restrictions on entry into Germany have seen Budapest step in to host the Champions League last 16, first legs between RB Leipzig and Liverpool, and Borussia Moenchengladbach and Manchester City.

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid’s home Champions League last 16 first leg against Chelsea will be played in Bucharest.

And Manchester United’s Europa League last 32, first leg away to Real Sociedad has been switched from Spain to Turin, where it will take place at the Allianz Stadium, home of Juventus.

The Spanish government has extended a ban on arrivals by air from countries including the UK until March 2 over new variants of the virus.

Only legal residents or nationals of Spain and the neighbouring micro-state of Andorra are currently allowed in on flights from affected countries.



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