FC Shkupi have vowed to respond ‘to the evil done to them’ when they face Shamrock Rovers in the Europa League tonight.
The North Macedonian side are in a hump after their charter flight was forced to land in Shannon rather than Dublin ahead of the Tallaght Stadium clash.
And the club hit out at the Irish government, accusing it of playing ‘cheap games’ and alleging that UEFA advice was ignored.
Shkupi also called on North Macedonia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene so they don’t have to travel back via Shannon.
Shkupi released an extraordinary statement this afternoon that read: “Our team is being interfered with by making small plays in such an unbecoming manner.
“Despite our budget, we were trying to keep our players comfortable by hiring a charter plane and paying thousands of euros to ensure that our players could make it to the Europa League in good health.
“But the Irish government did not listen to UEFA, despite the intervention of UEFA, landed us 300 km away from Dublin and gave our team an undeserved treatment.
“Likewise, after the match, he will send it back 300 km and fly it from there.
“Unfortunately, this has not been done to any other team except the North Macedonia team, our loneliness has emerged again as we progressed on the European road.
“I beg your North Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that we should at least arrange for tonight’s return to Dublin.”
But travel chaos has been a feature of this summer’s European games for Irish clubs as well as visiting opposition.
Shamrock Rovers were forced to fly to Malta from Shannon last month.
The Hoops also had a nightmare trip to Bulgaria to face Ludogorets that involved the squad splitting in two and taking different scheduled flights and a lengthy bus journey.
St Pat’s are in Bulgaria tonight, but had to leave from Knock airport yesterday while their Slovenian opponents last week, NS Mura, also flew out of Knock.
But Ludogorets did manage to secure a slot out of Dublin airport after their defeat to Shamrock Rovers last week.
A reduced number of charter planes and available slots in Dublin airport have been contributing factors for the travel disruption for Irish clubs, and their opposition.
But Shkupi are determined to have a good night on the pitch at least and said in their statement: “We would like to say to the Irish that…we have a very characterful team.
“The reward of being a team is to respond as a team to the evil done to you in the same way.
“Today our team will show you what a character it is, like lions on the field, it will show that there is no team that will not bow down to such cheap games.
“Such cheap games should not have a place in football, they should not go unpunished.
“You landed FC Shkupi at the airport, but you landed PFC Ludogorets in Dublin, could you treat us the same if any Italian, Spanish, German or English team showed up?
“We hope that our government will respond to this situation, with my respect to the public.”
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