Football in a pandemic continues, and the latest match(es) affected by the various COVID-19 travel restrictions around Europe are Chelsea’s upcoming quarterfinal matchups against Wolfsburg in the Women’s Champions League.
As confirmed by both teams earlier today, both legs of the encounter will take place on neutral ground — the same neutral ground in fact, Budapest’s Szusza Ferenc Stadium, home of Hungarian top divisionn side Újpest FC.
The first leg, which was previously set to be played at Kingsmeadow as usual, will be instead held on March 24 in Budapest, with a local kick-off time of 5pm (4pm UK time). The teams will then return to the same place a week later, on March 31, for the second leg at 2pm local time (1pm UK time).
As weird as it’s been to watch matches in empty stadiums (with broadcasters continuing to persist with fake and artificial crowd noise for some reason), it’s even weirder to have to play those games at neutral venues. But we just have to keep hoping that once all of this is over, the “new normal”, whatever it may be, will allow us to return into stadiums to bring back the vibrancy that has been so missing from the sport for over a year now.