Was tonight a night for European football?

 by Martin Belam, 11 March 2004

In September 2001 UEFA cancelled an entire round of Champions League and UEFA Cup matches as a mark of respect for the deaths caused by a terrorist attack on another continent.

On March 11th 2004 UEFA compelled four Spanish teams to play their UEFA cup matches despite the fact that their homeland had been subjected to the largest ever terrorist attack on European soil.

I totally understand the viewpoint that we shouldn't allow terrorists to interrupt our daily lives - but a European nation is in mourning, and calling for mass demonstrations against terrorism at 7am tomorrow "with the victims, with constitution and for the defeat of terrorism" [http://www.dw-world.de/english/0,3367,1430_A_1138854_1_A,00.html].

I don't think tonight was a night for European football to be played.

Credit to Glasgow Celtic, who were hosting Barcelona tonight, and elected not to play any music over the PA system before the match, to add at least an air of solemnity and respect to an occasion that in my opinion could have been put off for another, better, day.


Actually, UEFA's action is consistent with their actions in September 2001 - the games scheduled for the evening of 11/9 went ahead as planned.

Personally, I feel that the show must go on - I remember back in 1997 when football games were cancelled because of the death of that notoriously football mad princess.

I know the games on 11th September went ahead, but they cancelled the games on the 12th September. I think the crucial difference here is that there were not any American teams playing in the Champions League, but this time they were expecting Spanish teams to play. I think that was pretty unsympathetic of UEFA.

But don't even get me started on the matches cancelled after that particular celebrity death.

I had just moved into a new flat and had cable installed. The Sky match on the Sunday - Liverpool v Newcastle - was due to be the first time I had the lads round to watch the footie over beer on a Sunday afternoon. Then suddenly, because of a spot of drink-driving in another country the night before the whole thing is called off...

Mind you it was an interesting weekend. The princess died the same night I had a Coronation Street actress stay over at my flat. But that's a *whole* other story

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