Manchester United may have to finish their Europa League campaign at a neutral venue over just one leg, according to plans being considered by UEFA.
The competition was put on hold at the last-16 stage in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the final in Gdansk also being postponed.
UEFA’s plan has been revealed by Getafe’s president, Angel Torres. The Spanish side are still in the competition and face Inter Milan in the Round of 16.
It would mean that having completed the round of 16 tie with LASK – in which the Red Devils hold a 5-0 advantage after the first leg – they would move to a neutral city to finish the competition in a World Cup style format.
‘UEFA’s idea is to play the Champions League and Europa League, starting from the quarter-finals, across one match in one venue although nothing has been confirmed yet’ Torres told Spanish radio station Cadena COPE (via firstpost.com) yesterday.
‘They will come to a decision on 17 June [when the executive committee meets].’
If the plan goes ahead it would overcome the problem of the UK’s mandatory two-week quarantine, which would have made two-legged home-away matches impossible for English clubs. The only issue would then be the timing of the tournament.
UEFA have previously indicated that they intend to complete both club competitions in August so it is likely that the planned mini-tournament will take place after the Premier League and FA Cup have ended.
The target date to complete the Premier League is August 2nd and the FA Cup final will take place on 1st August.
Lisbon and unnamed Spanish and German cities have been mooted as potential venues for the events.
The Red Devils are favourites to win the Europa League, which would give them automatic entry into next season’s Champions League. Based on other first leg scorelines, the favourites so far to join them in the quarter finals are Shakhtar Donetsk, Bayer Leverkusen, Wolves and Basel. The match between Copenhagen and Istanbul Basaksehir is evenly poised and the Sevilla vs Roma and Inter vs Getafe ties have not yet started.
It is still possible that United could complete a cup double this season, with an FA Cup quarter final tie against Norwich City now scheduled for June 27th.
United might have to finish their Premier League season at neutral grounds as the authorities try to ensure player safety. How much do you know about those neither-home-nor-away games the Red Devils have played in the past? Take our quiz below to find out.