Belgium v Sweden abandoned match to count as draw

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Belgium’s Euro 2024 qualifier at home to Sweden will count as a 1-1 draw after Monday’s match was suspended at halftime and later abandoned following the fatal shooting of two Swedes in Brussels earlier in the day.

In statement on Thursday, UEFA said its Executive Committee had ruled the match would not be replayed and that the score would stand, with each team awarded a point in Group F.

“To take the mentioned decision, the Executive Committee took note that it had proved impossible to play the remaining part of the match on the following day,” a statement read.

“Both the Royal Belgian Football Association and the Swedish Football Association, given the circumstances, explicitly expressed their desire not to play the remaining match time and to consider the result at the halftime interval (1-1) as final.”

The decision was made less complicated than it might have been as Belgium are already assured of qualification while Sweden cannot reach the finals in Germany.

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Belgium had raised the security alert status of its capital city to the highest level after a man, who identified himself as a member of the Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the fatal shootings in a video posted online.

A Tunisian gunman suspected of the killings died on Tuesday after being shot by police in a cafe.

“At such a moment, when the football family is struck in its heart, sporting results are secondary,” Manu Leroy, interim CEO of the Belgian FA said.

“With UEFA’s decision, the match has now been officially called off, but we will not forget the victims. Our thoughts are with their families, and the players, staff and supporters of the Swedish national team.”

The shootings followed increased tensions after Hamas fighters killed 1,400 Israelis on Oct. 7 in the deadliest Palestinian militant attack in Israel’s history. Israel’s response has killed at least 3,785 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry.

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UEFA said on Thursday that no UEFA competition matches will be played in Israel until further notice.

“The Israel Football Association and its clubs Maccabi Haifa FC and Maccabi Tel-Aviv have been requested to propose alternative venues/stadiums (which must comply with all applicable UEFA regulations) outside the territory of Israel for their home matches to be used for as long as this decision remains in force,” UEFA said.

Maccabi Haifa’s Europa League Group F clash away to Valencia on Oct. 26 has been postponed until Dec. 6 while Maccabi Tel-Aviv’s Europa Conference League home match against Zorya Luhansk has been put back from Oct. 26 to Nov. 25.

-Reuters

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