Celtic opponents may travel without manager and three key players

Suduva manager Vladimir Cheburin. Picture: SNS
Suduva manager Vladimir Cheburin. Picture: SNS
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Suduva last night revealed their manager and three key players may not be able to travel to Scotland to face Celtic in the Europa League because of visa problems.

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The Hoops face the Lithuanian minnows on Thursday in a play-off tie for a place in the Europa League Group Stages.

But the Marijampole outfit are facing a race against time for Kazakh manager Vladimir Cheburin, Serbian stopper Aleksandar Zivanovic, Montenegrin midfielder Jovan Cadenovic and Belarusian defender Vital Hayduchyk to cut through red tape and get a visa for this week’s game in Glasgow.

Rangers’ Europa League opponents FC Ufa made headlines last week when they faced a last-minute scramble to get visas for their UK visit and had to spend a day at the British Embassy in Moscow, eventually receiving their documentation just hours before their flight.

And Suduva - who have also asked FC Ufa for help - admit they have hit a brick wall of bureaucracy in their bid to get their key personnel to Glasgow.

Director Karolis Skinkys said: “It’s a very serious matter because if we have to travel to Glasgow without our manager and three of our first team players, it would be extremely difficult to achieve our goals.

“Visas are necessary for our non-European members of the travelling party and it is a very complicated matter.

“The problem is the company who process UK visas in Vilnius only works for two days a month. We submitted our application on August 20 and they have replied they cannot upload the documents until August 28, from which is takes five working days to process, which is obviously no good for us.

“The Lithuanian Embassy in the UK have told us this is not their business and won’t get involved.

“The only alternative at the moment would be to go to Paris and try and get a fast-track visa, which we are not keen to do and doesn’t guarantee we will get them in time.

“We have consulted with Celtic and also AEK Athens, who were in a similar position to us with a few of their non-European players. The Greek Embassy in the UK ended up fixing it for them, but we’ve been told it is not an option for us.

“We’ve even tried contacting FC Ufa, who had similar problems when playing Rangers, but they got help from their Government and UEFA. Unfortunately, they haven’t responded to our communications so far.”