Football

Hodgson calls for Europa final postponement

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Fulham manager Roy Hodgson has called on UEFA to postpone the Europa League final if the volcanic ash causes more travel chaos ahead of Wednesday's clash with Atletico Madrid in Hamburg.

The Cottagers, who fielded a much-changed side for Sunday's 4-0 defeat in their last Barclays Premier League game at Arsenal, faced an arduous journey to get to Germany for the first leg of their semi-final after European airspace was shutdown following eruptions in Iceland.

Forecasts suggest the volcanic cloud could disrupt UK airspace again over the next few days. Hodgson maintains if the situation worsens, then Europe's footballing governing body must take a stance.

"We are worried, because they are always talking about changing wind direction, and having to play this game on Sunday does not give us too much alternative," said the Fulham manager.

"It is all very well people saying change the flights, but we can only change that on Monday. We are talking about 40 people and a lot of kit - it is not like someone going on a package holiday, it is a major operation.

"We are training on Monday morning, and I am not expecting to race around and try to contact the players now to say `You had better bring your bags for 9 o'clock Monday morning.'

"It could be very problematic and I only hope we have the luck to see the ash cloud disappear from the airspace between England and Germany.

"It is a very, very complicated matter and while our administrative team are working on it as best they can, to some extent we are going to be very much in the hands of the aviation authorities. What we can and can't do will be decided by them, not us.

"You would be placing the game with thousands and thousands of English and Spanish fans not able to go, which I would say is another reason for UEFA to reconsider.

"It would be harsh, especially on a team like ours who have had to do it once already."

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Topics:
Europa League
Fulham
Football

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