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Europa League: Pablo Longoria will not go to Lisbon without OM supporters

OM president Pablo Longoria assured Wednesday that he “would not attend the Europa League match” between his team and Benfica Lisbon on Thursday, if Marseille supporters were banned from entering the stadium.

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Europa League: Pablo Longoria will not go to Lisbon without OM supporters

OM president Pablo Longoria assured Wednesday that he “would not attend the Europa League match” between his team and Benfica Lisbon on Thursday, if Marseille supporters were banned from entering the stadium.

On Tuesday, Benfica announced its decision to cancel tickets sold to OM supporters for the quarter-final first leg. A measure that the club explains having taken after having “been officially notified by the French authorities of the decision to prohibit the presence of Benfica supporters in Marseille for the return match” on April 18.

This supposed travel ban on Portuguese supporters, however, had still not been taken early Wednesday evening, more than a week before the match.

“As president of Olympique de Marseille (...) I cannot accept that our supporters, who have made enormous sacrifices to come to Portugal, cannot access the visitors' stand to attend a meeting that we are all looking forward to in this very difficult season,” Mr. Longoria wrote in a press release.

“I cannot accept a situation which would be all the more regrettable as it would contribute to increasing the security risk surrounding the thousands of OM supporters who would find themselves at the door of the Estádio da Luz,” adds the Spanish leader. . More than 3,000 Marseillais were expected at the stadium on Thursday.

“And if we had to come to that, I would not attend tomorrow's meeting out of solidarity with our supporters but also in opposition to the unfair nature of this situation in which everyone must assume their responsibilities,” Longoria further declared.

“Despite the time already lost, I believe that it is still possible to come back to reason and make the right decisions,” concluded the OM president. “Pablo Longoria has been struggling since Friday. He is in contact with UEFA and with Rui Costa (the president of Benfica, editor's note). There is a lot of work on our part with all the stakeholders, with UEFA and the political world, to reverse the trend,” a source within the Marseille club explained to AFP.

At a press conference, Benfica coach Roger Schmidt also called for an agreement. “We want an agreement so that Marseille supporters can attend the match at the Luz stadium and Benfica supporters can also attend the match” in Marseille, said the German coach.

Many Marseille supporters were already present in Lisbon on Wednesday. Several groups of influential supporters, such as the South Winners, the Dodgers or the MTP, have called on their members on social networks to continue their trip to Lisbon.

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