Belgium-Sweden points shared after terror attack; Israel told to find alternative venues

October 20 – Belgium and Sweden will not continue their Euro 2024 qualifier that was abandoned at half time following the terrorist attack that killed two Swedish supporters in the centre of Brussels on October 16.

Instead UEFA has ruled, and at the request of both teams, that the half time score of 1-1 will serve as the full time score and the points will be shared.

Ultimately the result has no impact on Euro 2024 qualification as Belgium had already qualified alongside Austria who beat Azerbaijan in Group F, leaving the Swedes with no chance of moving to the finals, the first time they hadn’t qualified in 28 years.

The Belgium-Sweden qualifier had been abandoned at half-time at the request of both teams as news began to filter through of the killings. The attack in the Belgian capital saw a third person wounded, with the man claiming responsibility identifying himself as a member of Islamic State.

The match was being played at the King Baudouin Stadium on the outskirts of Brussels. The stadium went into lockdown before an evacuation commenced at around 11.50 pm with about 700 Swedish fans remaining in their seats before a police escort arrived.

UEFA said its “Executive Committee took note that it had proved impossible to play the remaining part of the match on the following day;”  and that the match schedules “do not allow any date to be used in the upcoming November international window, when the preliminary group stage of the competition must be concluded, to be followed by the play-off draw and final tournament draw.”

With the security situation in Israel unstable, UEFA has said no competition match will be played in the country until further notice.

“The Israel Football Association and its clubs Maccabi Haifa FC and Maccabi Tel-Aviv have been requested to propose alternative venues/stadiums (which must comply with all applicable UEFA regulations) outside the territory of Israel for their home matches to be used for as long as this decision remains in force,” said UEFA.

Maccabi Haifa FC ‘s game against Villarreal CF in the Europa League (Group F – Thursday 26 October) has been postponed to Wednesday 6 December 2023.

Maccabi Tel Aviv FC’s match against FC Zorya Luhansk in the Conference League (Group B – Thursday 26 October) has been postponed to Saturday 25 November 2023.

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