UEFA have confirmed that Arsenal’s Europa League game with Vorskla Poltava will go ahead as scheduled despite rising tension between Ukraine and Russia.
Ukraine’s parliament is due to decide today whether to bring in martial law, after the capture of three of its naval vessels by Russia in the Kerch Straight.
The BBC, citing local media, reports that martial law could “give the government the power to restrict public demonstrations, regulate the media, suspend elections, and oblige citizens to carry out ‘socially necessary’ tasks such as working at a defence facility.”
Whether that also includes watching The Arsenal remains to be seen.
According to the Associated Press, UEFA has confirmed “that the match will be played as scheduled” on Thursday, adding that “as is the case for all UEFA competition matches, all the necessary security measures will be undertaken.”
It’s not hugely surprising news, Poltava is a significant distance from the Russian annexed region of Crimea as well as the conflict taking place in eastern Ukraine where Russia-backed separatists have moved against the Ukrainian state and Craig Eastmond once scored an own goal. It’s not known if the latter two situations are linked.
What is certain at this stage is that Unai Emery’s men are going to be cold. The temperature at the 25,000 capacity Oleksey Bukovsky Vorskla Stadium is expected to plummet to -13C on Thursday night.
This is the current state of the Butovsky Vorskla Stadium, where #AFC are playing Vorskla Poltava on Thursday night. Temperatures are set to fall as low as -13 on Thursday night. pic.twitter.com/D2kQ9XQaCD
— Sam Dean (@SamJDean) November 26, 2018
That’s even colder than when we travelled to Swedish side Ostersund February. Pack your gloves lads.
Arsenal have already qualified for the knockout stages but we still need another win to make sure of finishing top of their group.