Valencia raise concerns about Kiev trip
Valencia’s players and officials are not happy at the prospect of travelling to face Dynamo Kiev in Thursday’s Europa League last 32 first leg given the current violent protests in the Ukrainian capital.
The Valencia travelling party was still hopeful on Wednesday that UEFA would decide to postpone or move the game. Should the match go ahead Los Ches' players and staff will spend as much time as possible inside their hotel, holding the pregame conference there.
As many as 25 people have died, with hundreds injured, in clashes between protesters and security forces in Kiev. In apparent support of the anti-government activists Dynamo’s website published a story suggesting the club’s legendary former coach Valeriy Lobanovskyi would have backed their struggle.
Closer to home Valencia’s directors and supporters are angry after the La Liga authorities changed the kickoff time of their game at Rayo Vallecano on March 2 from a 12:00 PM kickoff to 9:00 PM that evening.
The LFP announced the decision at short notice to switch the game with that day’s Villarreal vs. Real Betis clash so that its president Javier Tebas and other dignitaries could attend at El Madrigal and "pay homage" to Villarreal fans who suffered a tear gas attack during last weekend’s game against Celta Vigo.
Valencia’s club statement pointed out that many of its fans had already made plans to travel to Madrid for the game against Rayo, while saying the switch was typical of the LFP’s disregard for supporters in general.
“Valencia Club de Futbol lament the lack of consideration shown by the LFP and its president, Javier Tebas, to our club and our fans who have organised a mass trip to the Vallecas stadium,” the statement said.
“As a result of this change, a large majority of the hundreds of Valencianistas who had previously been able to attend the game at Vallecas -- according to the timetable made official by the LFP on Feb. 5 -- have had to cancel their plans… The club objects to times being modified to simply accommodate the agendas of authorities or homages to fans from third parties separate from Valencia CF or Rayo Vallecano.
"The LFP, with their actions, have demonstrated a lack of sensitivity to Valencia CF and a lack of respect for the competition, its followers and supporters in general. A serious and prestigious Liga BBVA begins with a respect for the stated timetable… Valencia CF will not participate in the LFP Assembly which takes place in Valencia on February 25th, unless the LFP provide a rectification for recent events.”
Betis are also unhappy as they have a Europa League game on the Thursday night at Russian club Rubin Kazan, then have to be back in Villarreal to play at noon on the Sunday. The Andalucian club said in its similarly angry statement that it would look for compensation from the LFP to cover the extra costs involved due to the short-notice switch.