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20 Aug 2022

Soccer team fume after being forced to land in Shannon Airport

Soccer team fume after being forced to land in Shannon Airport

Shannon Airport

WHILE many prefer to land in Shannon these days, given the speed of service compared to Dublin, one soccer team has today reacted angrily to this.

KF Shkupi, the champions of eastern European country North Macdeonia, chartered a flight to Ireland for their Uefa Europa League third round qualifier against Shamrock Rovers in South Dublin tonight.

But in a statement, the club were furious to land in Shannon, as opposed to the capital's airport.

The team has alleged the Irish government "did not listen" to the European football governing body Uefa's request to let the team land in Dublin.

"Unfortunately this has not been done to any other team except the North Macedonian team, our loneliness has emerged again as we progressed on the European road," the club's management wrote.

Its statement was published on the English language of its web site, under the headline "A huge shame on our team in Ireland".

"Despite our budget, we were trying to keep our players comfortable by hiring a charter plane and paying thousands of euros to ensure that our players could make it to the Europa League in good health but the Irish government did not listen to Uefa, despite the intervention of Uefa, landed us 300km from Dublin and gave our team and undeserved treatment on this journey," the club stated.

In fact, the Tallaght Stadium where the team kicks off tonight is just over 200km, and a two-hour drive away from Shannon Airport.

The club alleged that no other team travelling into Ireland for these early-stage European qualifiers was forced to land so far from the location of the game, and indicated the team will respond as "lions" on the field tonight against the "cheap games" which do not have a place in football.

"You only landed FC Shkupi at [Shannon] airport, but you landed PFC Ludogorets [Shamrock's previous opposition] in Dublin, could you treat us the same if any Italian, Spanish, German or English team showed up? We hope that our government will respond to this situation, with my respect to the public," the statement adds.

Last month, Shamrock Rovers themselves flew out of Shannon Airport to Malta for an earlier European tie, due to capacity restrictions at Ireland's largest airport.

At the time, the club thanked the Clare base for accommodating its players.

A number of Irish teams are in European action this evening: Sligo Rovers, St Patrick's Athletic and Linfield from Northern Ireland.

Shamrock Rovers meanwhile travel to North Macedonia for the return leg of their Europa League qualifier next Tuesday.

It remains to be seen if the Irish champions will face a detour or go straight to the country's capital Skopje.

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