Considering the current political climate, let alone the weather, you would have to be a very committed Manchester United fan to want to follow the Red Devils to Ukraine to watch next Thursday’s Europa League clash with Zorya Luhansk.
United need a point against Zorya to secure their progression to the knockout phase of the competition which is effectively the Champions League’s ugly stepsister.
The game will not be played at Zorya’s home ground, due to its proximity to conflict in the war-torn region.
Instead United will visit Odessa’s Chornomorets Stadium, 560 miles away from Luhansk.
A good number of fans plan to follow United to the Chornomorets Stadium, but the club have sent out a stern warning to all who have purchased tickets.
The following letter was sent to fans intending to travel to the game, as reported by The Mirror.
“Dear (fan name)
Thank you for your ticket application for our UEFA Europa League group stage away game against FC Zorya Luhansk.
Within the last 7 days, a considerable amount of intelligence relating to this match and the venue has been presented to us which we would like to make you aware of. The information provided below details a number of safety & security risks that you may face by travelling to the Ukraine for this game.
As previously advised, your match ticket, along with other important information needed for your trip, will be posted out to your registered address and will need to be signed for. If you no longer wish to travel to the Ukraine for this game, please call 0161 868 8000 before 10am Wednesday 30th November so that we can issue you with a full refund. Please also see the FCO advice (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) link below for further information.
The stadium is within a short walking distance from the city centre and is located within a wooded park where the lighting is very poor. For your own safety, shuttle buses will be in operation from 5.45pm (local time) departing from Cathedral Square and you are strongly advised to travel to the stadium on these police escorted buses. At the previous group stage games in the city there have been attacks on visiting fans with some in the park around the stadium, so we therefore advise you not to walk through this park to the stadium. The shuttle buses will again be in operation after the game to take you back to the city centre.
For your safety and security you are advised not to wear Manchester United colours when in the Ukraine or attract attention to your presence in the city. Due to political sensitivity in the region it is not just opposition football fans who may potentially pose a risk to your safety. Incidents of serious disorder during the European Championships in France last summer involving violent individuals and groups emanating from Eastern Europe should be remembered when considering your movements and actions, and any potential risk.
As a reminder, your match ticket will be posted to you on Wednesday 30th November and will need to be signed for. Please remember tickets for away games are non-transferrable and that the ticket you have been issued is for your use only (please refer to our Official Club Sanctions document).
We hope that you enjoy your visit to Ukraine and thank you for your support.”
It sounds as if diehard United fans could actually be at risk of dying hard if they travel to this game and don’t follow United’s instructions while there.
Let’s hope any United fans who decide to reject this offer of a refund and do travel to the Ukraine have a safe trip. And also let’s pray Ukraine regains stability as soon as possible.