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Champions League, compelled to shift venues, blurs notions of house and away.

Two European soccer giants, Atlético Madrid and Chelsea, will meet within the Champions League on Tuesday. The location of this a lot anticipated recreation? Bucharest, Romania.

On Wednesday, Manchester Metropolis will play the German staff Borussia Mönchengladbach. That recreation can be in Budapest, the Hungarian capital, the place the English champion Liverpool beat Germany’s RB Leipzig final week.

Within the Europa League, the continent’s second-tier membership championship, impartial websites at the moment are virtually as frequent as house video games. Final week, Spanish and English groups performed in Italy, and groups from Norway and Germany met in Spain. On Thursday, per week after the London membership Arsenal performed to a draw in opposition to Portugal’s Benfica in Rome, the groups are set to fulfill once more within the second leg of their not-home-and-home tie close to Athens.

The pandemic has wreaked havoc with worldwide sports activities schedules for a 12 months, and that chaos continues to have an effect on soccer’s greatest membership tournaments. The explanations — authorities edicts, journey restrictions and quarantine guidelines — range round Europe. In some nations, groups are nonetheless allowed to journey to and from their opponents’ stadiums with out situation. In others, nations have blocked guests from complete nations, or drawn up onerous guidelines that make such journey impractical in a soccer season when groups typically play two or three video games per week.

UEFA, the European soccer governing physique that runs the competitions, has determined that if restrictions adversely have an effect on any recreation, will probably be performed at a impartial web site the place journey is permitted. However the resolution to play knockout video games in locations seemingly chosen at random has led to confusion, and never just a little grumbling.

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