Why Ajax and Lyon's Europa League semi-final is being played on Wednesday, not Thursday

Jack Austin
The return leg in Lyon will go back to a Thursday night: Getty

The Europa League returns this week as Manchester United travel to Spain to take on Celta Vigo in the semi-final first-leg on Thursday night.

In the other semi-final, Ajax welcome Lyon to the Amsterdam Arena, where they have won their last six home games in Europe.

Traditionally, the Europa League is held on Thursday nights and while that is true for United’s semi-final, Ajax vs Lyon will instead be played on Wednesday.

The game will have a 5.45pm (BST) kick-off to ensure it is finished before the evening’s showpiece event of Monaco vs Juventus in the Champions League.

The reason for the temporary move from a Thursday is because in the Netherlands, 4th May is a public holiday called Remembrance of the Dead.

The day commemorates all those who lost their lives across the world in war situations during peacekeeping missions since the start of World War II.

The occasion is now remembered annually on 4th May (Getty)

As a result, on Thursday, all public transport is stopped, while TV and radio are only broadcast between 7pm and 8.30pm and there will be two minutes silence at 8pm.

The following day is known as Liberation Day, which marks the end of the country’s occupation by Nazi Germany.

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