"La Real has no alternative to change the lap at Old Trafford"

Toni Roca, Director specialized in Himnus football and the Sports Law Institute, explains that the Europa League has everything very tied up in the event that the pandemic prevents a team from traveling to another country.


Despite the fact that the first leg will not be played in Anoeta and will be played in Turin, Real Sociedad will have to play the second leg of the tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford. There is no way that the San Sebastian club can request a change of venue, claiming that otherwise the tie would not be disputed under the same conditions. He has no room for maneuver, as Toni Roca, Director of the Himnus soccer firm and the Sports Law Institute, explains to the newspaper AS.

“The UEFA Europa League regulations, in Annex I, have special rules that apply to the qualifying and knockout stages, due to the pandemic. It explains what happens when countries impose travel restrictions. And if the country club that puts these measures does not look for an alternative, it penalizes it by losing the game 3-0. In this case, we are talking about the fact that the Real does have to look for a different headquarters because Manchester cannot enter San Sebastián, but not the English team because its Government does allow entry into the country. What can the Royal do to try to change this? Well, the truth is that very little. The alternative would be that between now and the match, the United Kingdom prevents the entry of flights from Spain, or that Spain prevents entry there. Beyond that, nothing more can be expected, because the regulations have everything very well tied, and as far as we know, I do not see that the Real has a serious alternative to propose to change the return match in Manchester to a neutral venue " said Toni Roca.

“The rule is very clear, and it says that the matches must be held in the fields of the teams that play the qualifiers. Unless there are any restrictions, and as in the case of Manchester United it does not have them, UEFA sees no reason to demand a change of venue, other than that it be played under equal conditions, but UEFA understands that in that case that It is not contemplated. The matches are only changed for arguments and sanitary problems, not for that reason that there is inequality in the tie, that cannot be required because it is stipulated in the regulations. We must not lose sight of the fact that these changes involve significant logistical problems and an extra cost that can be avoided if not due to a health problem ”, insists Roca, who understands that the Real must have a special permit to enter the United Kingdom, but yes believes that the best thing would have been if the Spanish Government had made an exception with United and Chelsea.

“If the Real has to submit to the same conditions as all citizens, the party could not be disputed. What in my opinion is not logical is that the Government has not authorized the Ida party to be played in Anoeta. I do not quite understand it, because there is more risk of contagion with the British strain with the trip of the Royal to England than with the trip here from Manchester, do it on the day and do not have more contact other than with the field of play de la Real ”, adds Roca, who from his knowledge considers that the importance of a club as big as Manchester United has nothing to do with this matter.

“That for the media or fans can be an easy argument to cling to, but in this case the regulations are very clear and all you just do is apply the rule. United says, based on that rule, why do I have to go play somewhere else if my rival if they let him come to my field. I understand the position of the Real, but it cannot do anything because everything is very clear; and Manchester's position is also understandable, that until its government prevents it, it does not have to change its headquarters and it is logical that they fight for it, "he said.

Photos from as.com
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