St Johnstone must confirm a venue switch for the potential Euro clash with Galatasaray with UEFA by Tuesday – or they will forfeit the game.
Saints are almost certain to play both legs of a Europa League Third Qualifying Round clash with the Turkish giants at a neutral venue, as confirmed by boss Callum Davidson on Wednesday.
Turkey is currently on the UK red-list for travel and a review date for the Covid traffic light system not set until August 4th.
That means both clubs are precluded from travelling in and out of the UK because no ‘elite sportsperson’ exemptions are applicable during the qualifying stage.
Galatasaray are almost certain to be Saints Euro opponents.
A 5-1 first leg defeat to PSV put them on the brink of dropping out of the Champions League to face Davidson’s men.
The final outcome of the PSV-Galatasaray tie will not be known until Wednesday night.
The winners of the tie play Celtic in the Champions League qualifiers and the losers taking on Saints in the Europa League.
D-days on Monday and Tuesday for St Johnstone-Galatasaray venue switch
Despite the uncertainty over their opponent, Saints must write to UEFA by 11am on Monday July 26th to cite the travel restriction issue.
They then must offer an alternative neutral venue by 11am on Tuesday.
UEFA’s ‘Special rules applicable for the qualifying phase and play-offs’ annexe has clear instructions over venue switches and cost implications.
It also outlines the penalties in place for clubs that fail to adhere to the rules.
The weighty document confirms St Johnstone and Galatasaray must:
- Write to UEFA by 11am on Monday to confirm the travel restrictions that preclude them from staging their clash at home
- Confirm a proposed new stadium for the game, 24 hours later, with UEFA reserving the right to switch the venue
- Share costs for staging the games at a neutral venue AND will lose 50,000 of their ‘fixed contribution’ from UEFA for the away tie
- UEFA could change the tie to a single-match play-off
- Should either side fail to meet the stated deadlines they could forfeit the home leg 3-0
The hefty penalty for failing to meet the venue switch deadline
Paragraph 1.2.3 of the UEFA guidance states:
“If the home club fails to propose such suitable venue by the aforementioned deadline and a reorganisation of the match at an alternative venue and/or date is not possible the club in question will be responsible for the match not taking place.
“The match will be declared by the UEFA Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body to be forfeited by the home club, which will be considered to have lost it by 3-0.”
St Johnstone need PSV humiliation at Galatasary to avoid Euro nightmare
Saints find themselves hoping that PSV capitulate in the second leg.
That game is, ironically, taking place in Instanbul – due to the fact there are no travel restrictions between Holland and Turkey.
If PSV capitulate, then Celtic could be the side facing a neutral venue clash with Galatasaray in the Champions League Third Qualifying round.
In that case, Saints would be free to host the Dutch giants in the Europa League qualifiers, in front of fans at Perth.