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Atletico v Chelsea Champions League game to be played in Bucharest

FOOTBALL By Reuters | February 10th 2021
Chelsea’s Champions League clash away to Atletico Madrid will now take place in Bucharest [photo courtesy]

Atletico Madrid will play Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in Bucharest due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in Spain that prevent the English side from entering the country, UEFA said on Wednesday.

The match will kick off at the National Arena in the Romanian capital at the scheduled time of 2000 GMT on Feb. 23.

The game, which was due to be held at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium, was moved because of Spain's ban on arrivals from Britain, with the exception of passengers who are residents or citizens of Spain or Andorra.

The travel ban was extended on Tuesday until March 2.

"UEFA is able to officially confirm that the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Chelsea FC will now be played at the Arena Nationala in Bucharest," European soccer's governing body said in a statement.

"UEFA would like to express its gratitude to Club Atletico de Madrid and Chelsea FC for their support and close cooperation, as well as the Romanian Football Federation for their assistance and agreeing to stage the match."

Manchester United's game at Real Sociedad was on Tuesday moved from San Sebastian to Turin for the same reason.

Liverpool's first leg away to RB Leipzig on Feb. 16 has been moved to Budapest as a result of travel restrictions in Germany, as has Manchester City's first leg at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Feb. 24.

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Both legs of Arsenal's Europa League last-32 tie against Benfica have also been moved to neutral venues.

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