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By ESPN Staff

Your verdict: UEFA venue switch

The recent deadly terrorist attacks on Istanbul prompted UEFA to announce that neutral venues outside of Turkey will stage Chelsea's Champions League match with Besiktas and Juventus' away fixture against Galatasaray.

The UEFA Cup game between Maccabi Haifa and Valencia, which had originally been switched from Israel to Izmir in a bid to avoid trouble in Haifa, will also be switched outside of Turkey to a new venue. [+]


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    Your Verdict:

    This is a shameful political decision. UEFA's decision that dictates Galatasaray and Besiktas have to play Juventus and Chelsea outside Turkey has strictly political motives and it is absolutely ridiculous.

    While England are active invaders fighting along with the US in Iraq, and while England is declared an enemy by terrorists making countless threats, is it safe to travel to England?

    While Italians keep their troops in Iraq and had some of their lives lost recently, is it safe to travel to Italy?

    While the CIA repeatedly keeps warning of potential terrorist attacks in the US and elsewhere, is it safe to travel to the US? And please let me ask you is it safe to travel anywhere in the world at the moment?

    Turkey was the latest victim of terrorism and instead of embracing the country, with UEFA's decision, the European Community once again turned its back against Turkey.

    I feel absolutely disgusted! UEFA just declared the terrorists winners!

    Hakan Gurger

    It is only prudent to play those ties on neutral grounds.

    Besides, what happened in the U21 game between Turkey and Germany - where the referee and the German players were assaulted by security personal - and the incidents in the Euro qualifying match Turkey vs England, all international games in Turkey should be banned for at least one year.

    Turkey brings the game into disrespect!


    In light of the UEFA decision to ban the Turkish venues based on terrorism concerns, is it safe to assume that the same standard will be applied to teams from Western Europe if - God forbid - terrorist activities spread to these countries?

    While I realize that you are hardly non-biased, when the UK had her problems with IRA, and Spain with the Basque Separatists, should their teams have been banned from playing international matches at home?

    UEFA may have done better job of catering to certain interests by "creating" a scheme where they simply disallowed the Turks from playing at all and consider them defeated by default.

    I. H. Etem

    We, Turkey, were the latest victims of terror ,because we shared the common principles of Europe.

    While expecting any form of solidarity and support from Europe nowadays, your decision to change the venues of Turkish teams' matches shocked and upset many Turks, and the display of opportunism of Europe clubs was a disturbing scene for us.

    We understand the concerns about the security risks,but Istanbul or other cities in Turkey are by no means less secure than any other European city,given the global nature of terrorism.

    Your implied message has been not to support Turkey ,on the contrary,to give a reluctant and hesitant picture to terrorism.

    We pledge you to revise your decision , in a move to show solidarity with Turkey. This would be a great gesture for many Turkish people as well, who bitterly oppose any form of terrorism.

    Aykut Uzdiyem

  • Also, Mihajlovic apologises (sort of).........

    After reading the article about Sinisa Mihajlovic and his apparent apology to his club and not Mutu I am even more appalled by his attitude. He bleats on now about the fact that he was provoked by Mutu.

    Having watched the match I do not believe there was any provocation prior to him kicking Mutu whilst he was laying on the floor (another incident which went unpunished at the time). With regard to the spitting incident Mutu did catch Mihajlovic with his elbow when jumping for the ball (this could have been deemed a bookable offence, but was not).

    But what I cannot understand is how he can say he was 'provoked in an undignified way' by Damien Duff, as he was playing on the opposite wing to him in the first half. So why did he kick him twice, which resulted in him rightly leaving the pitch?

    Also how did the fourth official provoke him in an undignified way? As I understand it he was subjected to some form of retribution from Mr Mihajlovic as he left the playing area.

    He is obviously a skillful player, otherwise he would not have come this far in football, but is his extremely poor attitude and crude challenging tactics must be due to the fact that at 34 he is past his peak.

    Ray Taylor

    Well what a load of Horse manure! I saw that game live on ESPN and I watched closely the attention Mihajlovic gave Mutu and other Chelsea players and it was clearly a case of having a bad game and taking it out on the opponent which he was responsible for.

    Many times Mihajlovic went in hard for the man as well as the ball and he wasn't the only Lazio player to be more physical in their approach to the game.

    I am a former Professional player and I know that from time to time a coach will call for a more 'physical' game plan to put pressure on the opposing team, put them off their game!

    And it was clear that Lazio feared the passing game Chelsea have become competent at and their game plan was to close Chelsea down early unsettling Chelsea enough in to making errors.

    I believe after viewing the game a few times that Mutu was more than a handful and Mihajlovic couldn't match his opponent that night and acted accordingly.

    But make no mistake Mihajlovic made no friends that night and lost many admirers, simply because no matter what, no player deserves to be spat on it is below contempt and beyond apology.

    He's reported excuse is his way of defending his actions, but let me remind you all his fellow professionals would agree that if any player (professional) who spat on them they would feel exactly the same way.

    And what's more his failure to apologise will do him more damage to a reputation that is fading like his ability - fast!

    Shame on you Mihajlovic....................................... shame.

    Grahame Davis, Western Australia

    Mihajlovic is a joke, how can he say his sending of influenced the match? He is a donkey!

    If he stayed on Chelsea would have scored even more goals. Mihajlovic should have been banned for 20 matches as he is a disgrace to football and Lazio....and he should be forced to apologise to Mutu.

    C Hughes ( Chelsea Supporter )

  • Also, the real Arsenal have finally arrived in Europe.....

    Oh, so the terrible form in the past wasn't real? Arsenal are a great team, who played a great game, but unless they can turn these two wins into a run of some sort in Europe, their true face will remain as is - a team that can demolish all but a couple of the others in their domestic league, that can rarely manage a win against stiffer competition, especially unfamiliar competition.

    The real Arsenal has been following this formula to the letter for a long time now, and Henry is celebrating too soon. Arsenal are in a group with four teams with two wins each. It's a predictable claim to make after a 5-1 win... but it lacks merit without more evidence.

    Dan Toose - Sydney, Australia

    The Gunners showed character for the first time in their recent history in European football. Henry is great, Pires is awesome, Freddie & Kanu are classy.

    Thumbs up to all the Gunners, they showed some level of maturity. Although I am a Manchester United fan, the Gunners were awesome.


    One win and you think that's the real Arsenal ? What about the other four matches without a win? Seem to me that other four represents Arsenal best

    Consistency marks the character.

    Dyan Dhanisworo, Jakarta, Indonesia

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