UEFA says result of Belgium-Sweden soccer qualifier will stand after Brussels shooting


BRUSSELS (AP) — UEFA said on Thursday the result of the European Championship qualifying game between Belgium and Sweden, which was stopped this week after two Swedish fans were killed before kickoff, will stand.

The game was called off at half-time with the score 1-1. Both the Belgian and Swedish federations had asked to keep it as the final result.

“The Belgian and Swedish Football Federations are satisfied with the decision,” said the Belgian federation in a statement.

UEFA said “the result of this match does not impact the qualification of Group F.” Belgium was already qualified for the tournament to be held in Germany next year before it took on Sweden.

The Red Devils top the group ahead of Austria, which has also sealed qualification.

“Football should be a celebration but on Monday night a cowardly act decided otherwise. At such a moment, when the football family is struck in its heart, sporting results are secondary.” said Manu Leroy, the interim CEO of the Belgian FA.

Investigators are still trying to determine the motive for Monday night’s attack, which occurred not far from the King Baudouin stadium where the qualifier took place.

Authorities in the Belgian capital shot and killed the suspect on Tuesday, hours after they say he gunned down three Swedish fans, killing two of them. He posted a video online in which he claimed credit for the attack and said the Quran was “a red line for which he is ready to sacrifice himself.”

“We are pleased to hear that UEFA has come to a decision and that the decision is in line with what both federations wished for,” said Håkan Sjöstrand, the CEO of the Swedish FA. “However, sporting matters are secondary, our thoughts are with the victims and their families. That innocent Swedish supporters became targets of terrorism is shocking and it is hard to foresee what the consequences will be for the future.”

A moment of silence will be observed at games in Belgium and Sweden as a tribute to the two fans who died.

The Belgian league said that “next matchday all games will start with a minute of silence in honor of the two Swedish football fans who lost their lives in the terrorist attack in Brussels. This minute of silence will take place at both Belgian and Swedish football grounds.”


AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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