N Ireland v Russia postponed

The World Cup qualifier between Northern Ireland has been postponed until Saturday afternoon.

Last Updated: 22/03/13 at 19:38 Post Comment

Windsor Park: Will host NI v Russia on Saturday now.

Windsor Park: Will host NI v Russia on Saturday now.

Northern Ireland's World Cup double-header was plunged into uncertainty after tonight's match against Russia was postponed due to heavy snow at Windsor Park.

The match, deemed unplayable after a series of pitch inspections by Norwegian referee Tom Hagen and the FIFA delegates, has been given a revised start time of 3pm on Saturday.

But with more wintry weather expected in the next 24 hours, a second cancellation seems highly likely.

Despite that, FIFA regulations require the hosts to attempt to stage postponed matches the following day and the Irish Football Association will attempt to salvage the fixture.

Officials will reconvene on Saturday at 10.30am, with further meetings and pitch inspections due to take place.

There are also problems looming regarding the Group F qualifier against Israel on Tuesday. Even if a game does take place tomorrow, the effect on the pitch is likely to be such that a second match inside four days will be a near impossibility.

IFA head of communications Geoff Wilson said after Friday's postponement: "There has to be an attempt to play the game tomorrow because FIFA rules say every effort has to be made to play the game the day after postponement.

"We're looking to play the game tomorrow but we will have a briefing session at 10.30am and have another look at the pitch with the referee and take things from there.

"We're open to the elements here and I think if you look at the elements right now it probably doesn't look very positive.

"That being said, stranger things have happened.

"We're on Plan B and there could be a Plan C but at the moment we are focused on getting the game on tomorrow.

"There is a real willingness on both federations to play. But according to the weather forecast it is due to be bad today and for parts of tomorrow. At the end of the day it might change, but we have to do everything in our power to put this game on."

Wilson admitted there was a potential problem with the Israel match but confirmed no detailed planning has taken place on that front.

"With the weather as it is, even if the game goes ahead tomorrow that could cause issues with the pitch and the conditions for Israel but we have to take one game at a time," he added.

IFA staff - including chief executive Patrick Nelson - did their best to battle the weather on Friday morning by shovelling snow from the pitch in grim conditions, but their efforts were in vain.

Windsor Park, home to Irish League outfit Linfield, is among the more basic on the international circuit and has little to no defence against the elements, such as under-soil heating.

Russia, meanwhile, are due to play Brazil in a friendly at Stamford Bridge on Monday but now face the prospect of a one-day break between games.

The inclement weather also forced the closure of the runway at George Best Belfast City Airport and the Association of Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs registered its concerns with the IFA over the safety of fans travelling to the match.


Click here for completely free £10 bet with Sky Bet & £5 free every week


Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

till reckon Chelsea will go for Khedira as back up for Matic. I think it will turn out to be quite a Mourihno-y window: We'll see the squad players and youth in action pre-season, say things like well, we need not buy anybody and then the club will bid £60m for Pogba and send everybody on loan.

tk421
F365's Transfer Guide - Part One

I

would love to be a fly on the wall at the meeting between Milner and Rodgers. I don't know if flies can count, but if they can then I would be counting the number of times Rodgers used the word outstanding in his attempts to get Milner to sign.

godzilla
Reds and Arsenal chase Milner

W

ell, it wouldn't be a summer without Arsenal fans fretting over losing a key player, and United throwing their weight around and muscling in on transfer deals which are (apparently) near to completion. If we can't be entertained by the football on the pitch, let's enjoy the silly off-pitch soap opera of the transfer season. Hurrah!

CamberleyGooner
The Back To It Gossip

Footer 365

Costa 'so happy' at Chelsea - Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has dismissed claims Diego Costa is unhappy at Chelsea, insisting he is 'responsible for the good atmosphere' at Stamford Bridge.

Sepp Blatter 'under investigation' in United States

Outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter is being investigated by US authorities probing the corruption scandal, according to reports.

Tottenham willing to listen to offers for Benjamin Stambouli

Tottenham are willing to listen to offers for Benjamin Stambouli - but have not yet received any bids for the player.

Mail Box

Liverpool 2015 Feels Like Liverpool 2011...

One Mailer says Benteke = Carroll, Bellamy = Milner and Clyne = Downing. Plus we have U21 Euro impatience, farewell Rio, Rafa Benitez, Milner, FIFA and title play-offs...

Calling Carlo For Liverpool... Please

One Liverpool Mailer wants a manager who isn't starstruck by the job. Plus why Milner has now become overrated, play-offs for the title, Ronaldinho and democracy..

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company