Hearts confirm proposed kick-off times and change of venue for Europa League play-off ties
Robbie Neilson’s side will face either Linfield or FC Zurich for a place in the group stages, with the first leg taking place away from home next week before the return leg at Tynecastle seven days later.
The Swiss champons side are 2-0 ahead from their away first leg in Ireland last week – making it most likely they will confirmed as Hearts’ opponents when they complete the second leg this Thursday.
UEFA will confirm the fixture details on Friday but, in the meantime, the Edinburgh club has outlined the proposed plans, while stressing that supporters wait for official confirmation before booking travel and accomodation.
Should FC Zurich maintain their aggregate lead and win the tie, Hearts will travel to Switzerland for a 7pm CET (8pm UK time) kick-off on Thursday, August 18 with the match taking place at St Gallen’s Kybunpark Stadium, situated around 87km from Zurich.
The game has been moved from FC Zurich’s usual home at the Stadion Letzigrund due to a concert taking place that night.
If Linfield spring a surprise and overcome the two-goal deficit to progress to the play-off round, the Jambos will head to Belfast to face them at Windsor Park on Thursday, August 18 with a 7.45pm kick-off UK time.
The return leg at Tynecastle has been proposed to kick-off at 8pm on Thursday, August 25.
The winners of the tie will progress to the Europa League group stages with the losers dropping into the Conference League group section.
A Hearts statement read: “Since the draw was made at UEFA headquarters on Tuesday, the club has been working round the clock on the logistics of preparing for a match against two possible opponents from different parts of Europe.
“It was the club’s intention to make travel to either country as smooth as possible for our supporters, who we know want to back the team in huge numbers. However, after spending considerable time in dialogue and negotiating with our travel partner, it has become clear that due to the extremely busy summer travel season and the significant issues within the travel industry at present, we will not be able to secure a charter flight large enough to accommodate supporters. Therefore, we are unable to offer supporter travel packages for this play-off round away leg.
“We would like to reaffirm our commitment to helping our fans to follow Hearts in Europe and we will continue to make the strongest possible effort to secure the necessary modes of transport that will allow us to offer supporter travel packages for away matches in the group stages of either the Europa League or Europa Conference League.
“We continue to make progress on ticket allocations and hope to be able to make an announcement as soon as the third qualifying round tie reaches its conclusion.
“The club thanks the fans for their patience during this period as we deal with a situation that has many moving parts.”
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