UEFA Silly Not to Postpone Important European Semi Finals

Football - Fulham Press Conference

  • Everyone off the Coach, It’s Time for a Kick About

Not one of the four clubs competing in a European semi this week could manage an away win. Fulham came closest away to Hamburg as they set themselves up with a pretty decent chance of progressing through to the Europa League final with a 0-0 draw. The other three all lost.


Or, were the incredibly long journeys by train, coach, canoe then train again possibly to blame for the players performances?

As midweek turns into the weekend, I can only look back in disapproval on the silly exploits of UEFA allowing these ridiculously long journeys (24 hours for Liverpool and Barcelona, 17+ hours for Fulham, over 2 days for Lyon) to those all important European semi finals for the four away clubs. Some of the news headlines went something like this:

Arduous Trek Will Not Affect Liverpool

Liverpool, Fulham begin long journey to semifinals

Barcelona bemoans bus trip to Milan

Roy Hodgson’s men bond during ‘never-ending’ journey

Liverpool soccer team managar Benitez walk down a platform at Runcorn station
You get the picture. We’ve all been inundated with stories of Mt.E. (no point spelling it out, you can’t pronounce it anyway) affecting air travel across Europe. Hell, when the Frightened Rabbits can’t make it to the Coachella festival in California, not to mention Fulham being forced into a roadside kick about to keep fresh, something is amiss in the world.

So why didn’t UEFA step in and postpone these all important matches until clubs could resume their normal method of air travel? Should UEFA make the four teams who travel next week to the return legs take the same route and mode of transportation as their opponents took? Surely UEFA must recognize the advantage they’ve handed the home teams during the first legs.

You may be thinking to yourself, “these are professional athletes, some of the them world class. Shouldn’t they be able to overcome a long coach trip and perform up to their highest standards?” And a valid point that would be, however, in a match this important, this critical and with so much on the line, UEFA has to assure the playing field is as level as possible. Ask yourself this question, when will Fulham find themselves in another European semi?

All four clubs who participated in midweek away ties have been dealt a band hand by UEFA. They dropped the ball by not acting when they had the chance and should have postponed the first leg ties until air travel resumed. There’s not a chance in Nyon, Switzerland they’ll restrict the 2nd leg away clubs from air travel and have thus given a slight advantage to those four clubs.

Good luck to the remaining English clubs left in the Europa league and hopefully the best team will win over the course of the 2 leg ties. No thanks to UEFA for not standing up and making a tough decision when they needed to, and let’s hope their lack of a pair ultimately doesn’t hinder the four clubs who were forced into those long, arduous journeys.

8 thoughts on “UEFA Silly Not to Postpone Important European Semi Finals”

  1. UEFA is a joke, their Ref are about as bad as CONCACAF…what the point of the extra Ref if they cannot still make the correct decision! UEFA is greedy and biased !

  2. Did you look at the schedule and see if any midweeks were available? What about the TV schedules? Stuff happens, including bad luck. Maybe Fullham will still go through.

  3. stop crying. how do you think football clubs got around before airtravel was common? they still played their matches and they didn’t blame it on travel either.

  4. Fair point. However, those were the good old days where every club who travled had to drive or take a train thus making that long, exhausting journey a necessity to compete.

    Both teams had to take the same route which meant there wasn’t an advantage to be had by either club.

    Not so in this case.

  5. A “band” hand? Is that a quad of Gipsy Kings? That’s a great hand! :)

    It’s a random draw. By chance English teams could have been playing home first. A reschedule would have been a real hazard for UEFA and for all teams involved. Teams rested players the weekend before in the league fixtures and the results showed it (Barcelona), and if UEFA rescheduled those teams would be forced to decide whether to rest players yet again and risk harm to their league position an extra time or risk having tired players in the UEFA matches. And Lyon would be forced into a more congested schedule than they are already creating for themselves. So, two examples for two road teams where a rescheduling would have forced them into a more difficult choices for their UEFA efforts and their league positions. (And I haven’t even mentioned the lost TV ad revenue a reschedule would have caused in Europe, or the hardship on local fans who had tickets for that date…)

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