Manchester United Europa League clash with Real Sociedad moved to Turin due to Covid-19 restrictions

Solskjaer Manchester United 2020
The Red Devils' encounter with Real Sociedad has had to be moved to a different venue due to current travel restrictions in Spain

Manchester United's Europa League game with Real Sociedad on February 18 has been moved to Juventus' Allianz Stadium due to coronavirus restrictions.

The first leg of the last-32 tie had been scheduled to be played at Sociedad's Anoeta Stadium, but Covid-19 travel restrictions in Spain meant this was impossible.

The expected change of venue has now been confirmed, with no change to the match schedule.

Why has the venue been changed?

Current travel restrictions in place due to Covid-19 in Spain mean that teams from the United Kingdom are currently not permitted to enter the country. The Spanish government has not granted elite sports people exemption to allow teams such as Manchester United to travel to the country for the game without the need to quarantine.

Both the Spanish Football Association and Real Sociedad had been seeking an exemption, but that could not be agreed so the game has had to be moved elsewhere.

What about the return leg?

The second leg at Old Trafford on February 25 is not affected by the same restrictions. UK government policy means elite athletes and sports teams are exempt from the quarantine rules imposed on travellers arriving from abroad.

Sociedad will not have to isolate when they travel to Old Trafford for the return leg on Thursday, February 25, in the same way the United squad will not have to quarantine when they return home from the first leg

Whose responsibility was it to find a new venue?

UEFA rules stipulate that it is down to the home side to ensure the game can be played at their venue. If this isn’t possible then it is down to them to find a suitable alternative.

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So in this circumstance it was down to Sociedad to find another stadium when the match could not be hosted in their stadium.

A statement from United said: "UEFA have thanked 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."

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