Tomorrow evening, on the night of the ninth of Av, Maccabi Haifa is expected to play against Sheriff Tiraspol in the second preliminary round of the Champions League. Today (Tuesday), the Moldovan team responded to the allegation that they refused to reschedule the match, which falls on the fast day, and they claim: "We are ready for a compromise."
The MHOD system approached Sheriff and asked them about the press releases stating that they refused to reschedule the match and used UEFA regulations as a pretext. The spokesperson for Sheriff responded that they did not receive any request from Maccabi Haifa and that they are ready for a compromise, subject to UEFA approval.
Due to the ninth of Av fast day: Maccabi Haifa is expected to return to Israel immediately after the match
According to the publication, Maccabi Haifa reached out to the management of the Moldovan team, Sheriff Tiraspol, last week. They are set to face each other in the second round of the Champions League preliminary, and Maccabi Haifa requested to slightly advance the game's timing as it coincides with the beginning of the fast day of the ninth of Av. The Moldovan team responded to Maccabi Haifa, stating that it is not possible to change the game's schedule. As a result, the players are expected to fly back to Israel immediately after the match.
From Maccabi Haifa's statement: "Sheriff forwarded to Maccabi Haifa the notification letter issued by UEFA before the first round, informing that the match will take place on July 26th and cannot be changed at this stage. Due to the circumstances, the team will return to Israel immediately after the game on a night flight."
The game against Sheriff will take place without an audience
In the upcoming match, there will be no fans of the Greens (Maccabi Haifa) present, following UEFA's announcement last week. This decision comes after incidents of disorder and disturbances during the away game against Amron Spartans. Maccabi Haifa will play two European away matches without spectators and will be fined 30,000 shekels. It should be noted that Maccabi Haifa already received a punishment of one away match without spectators previously, so one game was automatically triggered, and an additional match and a financial penalty were added.
The charges against the Israeli team include throwing objects, hurling torches, causing damage, and disturbances in the crowd. During the away game, Amron's fans began chanting "Palestine" to provoke Haifa's fans, and in response, the Israeli fans threw torches towards them. As a result, the game was suspended for an extended period, and the players had to retreat to the dressing rooms.
The next opponent: The winner between Zrinjski Mostar and Slovan Bratislava
For the three other Israeli teams, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Beitar Jerusalem, and Hapoel Be'er Sheva, a game was scheduled on the fast day of the ninth of Av. Maccabi Tel Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem appealed and requested to postpone the game so that it would start after the fast ends, to accommodate the religious and traditional observances of their fans. Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv's request was approved, and indeed the games were rescheduled to 8:30 PM (approximately 20 minutes after the fast ends). Hapoel Be'er Sheva managed to postpone the game to 9:00 PM.
As mentioned, after passing Hamrun Spartans in the first round and winning the first title of the season, Maccabi Haifa was informed yesterday that the winner between Zrinjski Mostar from Bosnia and Slovan Bratislava from Slovakia will be their opponent in the third preliminary round of the Champions League, provided they advance past the Moldovan champions, Sheriff Tiraspol.
In the event that the Moldovan champion is eliminated by Sheriff, they will face Aris Limassol from Cyprus or BATE Borisov from Belarus in the third round of the Europa League.