Following the Champions League group stage draw on Thursday which decided the fate Europe’s top clubs, the dates were agreed for the various matches. One midweek in particular though has caused some serious concern in the corridors of Uefa headquarters as both Manchester United and Liverpool are scheduled to play in Moscow on consecutive evenings.
Manchester and Liverpool in Moscow
José Mourinho’s United side were drawn in Group A which includes CSKA Moscow, runners-up in last seasons Russian Premier League, and are set to face them on Tuesday 27 September. The Reds from Merseyside are due in the Russian capital a day earlier on Monday 26 September to play reigning champions, Spartak. As well as the potential risks of local Russian fans, something that has been highlighted for several years and more so recently with next year’s World Cup on the horizon, it is a mix of supporters of two English clubs with one of the bitterest rivalries in world football.
Uefa look at Russian security options
Uefa will be speaking with Russian security authorities to ensure that there is no danger posed to the teams involved, fresh in the knowledge of the violence between English and Russian hooligans at last year’s European Championships in France. Whether there is any scope for one of the fixtures to be rearranged is yet to be seen, with some arguing that football schedules should not be dictated to by the troublesome few.