Ukrainian side Vorskla Poltava have said that they cannot guarantee they will be able to play Thursday’s Europa League tie against Arsenal, which was moved to Kiev for political reasons.
The country’s president Petro Poroshenko has imposed a period of martial law on several regions after Russian ships fired on two Ukrainian gunboats off the coast of Crimea, escalating tensions between the two nations.
It was announced on Tuesday that the match would be moved from the Oleksiy Butovsky Vorskla Stadium in Poltava to the Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, home of Dynamo Kiev and venue for the 2018 Champions League final.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 28, 2018
However, Sky Sports News is now reporting that the match may not go ahead because there has been no confirmation that the stadium will be available at such short notice.
“The Olympic Stadium hasn’t given us any kind of confirmation or any other kind of answer,” said Vorskla vice president Oleh Lysak.
It is unclear if the match could be postponed or if Vorskla would forfeit the game, which would eliminate them from the Europa League with one match to go.
Arsenal fans criticised the decision to move the match to Kiev, over 200 miles from its original location, with many already on their way to Ukraine when the announcement was made.
Vorksla are saying they haven’t had any confirmation from the Olympic Stadium that it will be able to host the game at short notice.
Vorskla vice president Oleh Lysak: “The Olympic Stadium hasn’t given us any kind of confirmation or any other kind of answer.”
— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) 28 November 2018
“It’s a major inconvenience not only for the fans, but for the team as well,” said John Williamson, an Arsenal Independent Supporters’ Association (AISA) committee member, quoted by Sky Sports News.
“Having spent a night in Poltava, I see no issues whatsoever with the match being played here. I understand the political issues in surrounding areas but there are no problems in the town. I feel that UEFA hasn’t assessed the situation and has overreacted.”
UEFA’s Emergency Panel has today taken the decision to relocate FC Vorskla’s UEFA @EuropaLeague group stage match against Arsenal from Poltava to Kyiv, following the introduction of martial law into certain regions in Ukraine.
More info 👇https://t.co/A3791SXX4e
— UEFA (@UEFA) November 27, 2018
Arsenal are already through to the knockout stages and will win the group if they match Sporting’s result against Qarabag.