St Johnstone’s clash with Galatasaray is set to be played behind closed doors – even if it is staged at a ‘green list’ country.
As Courier Sport revealed on Thursday, Saints have until Tuesday to confirm their preferred alternative venue for the Europa League Third qualifying round match.
UEFA’s strict deadline will see Saints forfeiting the home leg 3-0 if they fail to agree a new venue by 11am on Tuesday.
That is 24 hours BEFORE Galatasaray could be confirmed as their opponents, as they trail PSV Eindhoven 5-1 from the first leg of their Champions League qualifier.
Failure to overturn that deficit will confirm the Turkish drop into the Europa League alongside Saints.
— PSV (@PSV) July 21, 2021
Stadium ban for St Johnstone fans who travel to ‘neutral venue’
And while green-list countries Iceland, Malta, Bulgaria and Croatia all seem the most likely venue choices for a tie with Galatasaray, UEFA are likely to impose a ban on fans.
Both Saints and Galatasaray will be assigned as ‘home’ teams for their respective legs.
However, UEFA are likely to apply the rules of an edict they issued on June 14th, restricting the travel of visiting fans.
St Johnstone are continuing to pursue other avenues to try and overcome the ‘red-list’ issue with Turkey.
Special dispensation over travel for elite sportspeople is not applicable to red zone countries during the qualifiers.
That means Saints are unlikely to succeed unless the UK and Scottish Government relax the law on travel.
Yup. We're having a look at it and seeing what the issues are. Will put something out later. It looks primarily because Turkey is on the UK's red list. Will check out.
— Pete Wishart (@PeteWishart) July 22, 2021
Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart took to Twitter to insist he is ‘having a look and seeing what the issues are.’
But with a review on the traffic light system not due until August 4th – the day before Saints away tie – that seems unlikely.
The Perth side’s best hope of a glamour European night at McDiarmid Park is for Galatasaray to overturn their hefty first-leg defeat.
That would instead plunge Celtic into the same logistical nightmare as Galatasaray’s opponents – if they see off Danish side FC Midtjylland in the Champions League Second qualifying round.