A scheduled football friendly between Belgium and Portugal next week is set to go ahead after a change of venue. The match was originally due to take place at the King Baudouin Stadium in north-west Brussels on 29 March, only to become shrouded in understandable doubt following the terrorist attacks that killed at least 34 people at the city's Zaventem airport and Maelbeek metro station on Tuesday (22 March).
In the wake of those horrific events, the Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) released a statement in which it confirmed that the fixture would no longer take place after the City of Brussels asked to cancel for "security reasons and precaution". With no further games planned for the current international break, members of Marc Wilmots' squad were expected to return to their respective clubs.
However, the latest update from the RBFA reveals that it has now accepted a proposal from the Portuguese Football Association to host the contest in Leiria. Unfortunately, the late timing of the change means that ticket sales cannot be organised for supporters.
"Given the dramatic events of yesterday, in these difficult times to allow mass events to take place safely and given the terror level four at national level, the game against Portugal will not take place in Brussels next Tuesday," the governing body announced via its official website." This was decided today in coordination with the authorities and the Portuguese Football Federation.
"The board of directors of the Belgian FA has, in agreement with the national coach and coaching staff, decided to accept the proposal of the Portuguese Football Federation to play this match in Leiria, on the same day and at the same time, Tuesday, March 29 at 20.45 (Belgian time).
"The Belgian FA appreciates the availability, flexibility and solutions offered by the Portuguese Federation. The FPF expresses its full solidarity with the Belgian FA in this tough and emotional period."
Belgium swiftly cancelled training on the day of the attacks, but will hold a session behind closed doors in Brussels on 23 March before manager Wilmots holds a press conference at 17.30 GMT. There are a number of Premier League players currently on international duty with the Red Devils, including Liverpool trio Simon Mignolet, Divock Origi and Christian Benteke.
Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini are also involved in addition to Toby Alderweireld, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele of Tottenham. Vincent Kompany and Eden Hazard are currently sidelined with calf and hip injuries, while Jan Vertonghen is also out due to medial ligament damage. Kevin de Bruyne, meanwhile, is continuing his recovery from a serious knee injury.