By Akbar Mammadov
Azerbaijan’s Neftchi fooltball club will play with Turkey’s Galatasaray on September 17 in Baku.
The match will be held in Baku Olympic Stadium within the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League.
If Neftchi qualifies for the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, it will face the winner of the pair Renova (Northern Macedonia) & Hajduk Split (Croatia) at home.
The matches of the second qualification round of the Europa League will take place on 17 September, with extra time and a penalty shoot-out if required. This season all qualifying ties in the Europa League will also be single-leg matches behind closed doors. Winners advance to the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round.
It should be noted that in the first qualification round of the Europa League, Neftchi, facing Northern Macedonian Shkupi, beat its rival with a score of 2:1 in the match held on August 27 in Baku.
In the meantime, the Azerbaijani Interior Ministry, Azerbaijani Football Federations Association (AFFA) and Neftchi FC have made a joint statement, informing the public that the match between Neftchi and Galatasaray will be held without fans.
“Taking into account the fact that both teams have a large number of fans in our country, we reiterate that it is important to follow the rules applied by the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers of Azerbaijan in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic,” the ministry said in a statement published in its official Facebook page on September 15.
Furthermore, the ministry informed football fans that during Galatasaray's arrival in Baku, mass gatherings of fans at the airport, outside of the hotel where the team will stay, around the stadium where they will train and play, as well as in other relevant places are not allowed.
“The Ministry of Internal Affairs, AFFA and Neftchi call on fans to follow the rules applied by the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers, taking into account the increased risk of coronavirus infections.”
The ministry also informed that fans can record the video of the messages they want to convey to their favourite teams and send them to Azerbaijan’s “CBC Sport” sports channel.
“These videos will be shown on CBC Sport, as well as on the monitors of the Baku Olympic Stadium on the day of the match.”
Akbar Mammadov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @AkbarMammadov97
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