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Manchester United and Arsenal’s Europa League matches moved to Italy due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

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Manchester United and Arsenal will play the first leg of their Europa League round of 32 tie on Italian soil as coronavirus has forced UEFA to relocate a string of European ties involving English clubs.

Real Sociedad’s Anoeta Stadium was set to host the home fixture against Manchester United on February 18 but coronavirus restrictions mean the game will have to take place at Juventus’ Allianz Stadium in Turin. As it stands Old Trafford will still host the ‘s home tie.

UEFA said in a statement that they “would like to thank Real Sociedad and Manchester United for their close cooperation and assistance in finding a solution to the issue at hand, as well as the Italian Football Federation and Juventus for their support and agreeing to host the match in question.” The kick-off date and time remain unchanged.

Meanwhile Arsenal are set to join them in moving their match to Italy with Rome’s Stadio Olimpico set to host the first leg of their tie, which was due to take place at Benfica’s Estadio da Luz in Lisbon. Travellers from Portugal are on a “red list” and cannot enter the United Kingdom due to fears over mutated strains of coronavirus. 

Arsenal will play their “home” game at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus, Greece. They played there in the round of 32 of last season’s Europa League, beating Olympiacos 1-0 but losing the home leg in extra time. Despite neither team playing a game on their home ground UEFA has confirmed that the away goals rule will be used in the tie.

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Liverpool and Manchester City have already confirmed that the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 ties against RB Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach will take place at Budapest’s Puskas Stadium next week whilst Chelsea’s game away to Atletico Madrid could also be moved.

Tottenham are expecting to be able to play the away leg of their Europa League tie against Wolfsberger; elite athletes are exempt from Austrian quarantine rules on passengers from the United Kingdom.

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