By Iain Rogers
DYNAMO Kiev’s Europa League last-32, first leg at home to Spanish club Valencia on Thursday has been moved to the Cypriot capital Nicosia due to civil unrest in the Ukrainian capital.
President Viktor Yanukovich has declared Thursday a day of mourning after at least 26 people died in the worst violence in Ukraine since the former Soviet republic gained independence.
Valencia’s president, Amadeo Salvo, told reporters at the city’s airport yesterday that “common sense” had prevailed and the game had been moved to the GSP Stadium in Nicosia and would kick off at the original time of 1800 GMT (8pm Cyprus time).
“The players are having something to eat and in a few hours we are flying to Cyprus,” Salvo said.
“It was very difficult to play in Kiev,” he added.
“They guaranteed our security but the situation is very unpredictable and cannot be controlled and the best thing is to play at a neutral venue.
“We are satisfied. Common sense and the cordial relations between all involved have prevailed.
“The best thing, the most positive, is that there is no change to the date of the match or the La Liga calendar.”
The Ukrainian government has launched a crackdown on protesters who have been occupying central Kiev for almost three months since Yanukovich rejected a trade deal with the European Union and accepted a $15-billion Russian bailout.
Salvo apologised to any Valencia supporters who had made the trip to Ukraine for the match.