Now that the Premier League has returned, it was time for UEFA to sort out the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League for the remainder of the season. It was already suggested that both competitions would have a tournament feel to them, which is the case. The Champions League will be played in Portugal with the Europa League in Germany.
The one thing that seems interesting is that supporters might be able to attend the stadiums for matches, which would be a turn up for the books considering the coronavirus pandemic has put a block on that for an unknown period of time. United and Wolverhampton Wanderers still remain in the Europa League this season.
United played their last match in the competition back on the 12 March, beating LASK 5-0 in the round of 16 first leg, still with the second leg to be played, which will happen on the 5/6 August. United might feel confident of reaching the quarter-finals of the competition already with that scoreline and field a youthful side in the second leg.
United would then travel to Germany for a knockout competition between the 10 August and the 21 August with the matches being played in Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Gelsenkirchen. The final will be played at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne. There are said to be plans for fans in stadiums but UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin thinks it could be unlikely. He said:
“If we had to decide now, we would have to say without fans.
“But the situation is changing every day. It is two months until August – remember what the situation was in Europe two months ago.
“Things are changing. It may be no fans, local fans or the fans of the different clubs travelling. We have to wait but decide before the draw.”
It is yet to be seen whether the round of 16 matches will be played at the stadiums they were supposed to, with United entertaining LASK at Old Trafford. The Government in the United Kingdom recently imposed a 14 day quarantine period for new arrivals, however, there are exceptions for elite sporting events, of which this will be part of. Ceferin concluded by saying:
“For sure the clubs would prefer to play at home but we don’t have enough information to decide.
“Health and security must come first and we need to know the situation about travelling, borders and quarantine.
“When you speak to the clubs, of course they would prefer to play at home, even without crowds, rather than at neutral grounds.”