A fire has broken out in Andorra’s Estadi Nacional just a day before England’s World Cup qualifying match with the country.
The fire may cause disruption to the fixture as it was situated near the media gantry, possibly leading to broadcasting problems tomorrow evening.
The blaze started while builders were erecting the gantry, with sparks flying off, catching the artificial grass below on fire.
There are no reports of any injuries with firefighters arrived at Estadi Nacional 20 minutes after the fire started to dissipate any potential danger.
The ground staff also helped to control the blaze by putting the sprinklers on, which limited the damage to only the media gantry, technical area and one of the dugouts.
Fire at Andorra’s Estadi Nacional
BREAKING: A fire has broken out at the Estadi Nacional, where Andorra are set to play England in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier. pic.twitter.com/RTG64JhfUl
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) October 8, 2021
Previous Pitch Problems
The 3G artificial pitch has not been hit by the fire, but tomorrow’s match will still be subject to health and safety checks.
This pitch has been the subject of controversy before when Wales played against Andorra in a European Championship qualifier in 2014. Gareth Bale said that it was “the worst pitch I’ve ever played on”.
The Andorran Football Federation said that the pitch was improved last year, to now be a “hybrid surface”. However, it may still alter Gareth Southgate’s plans for his starting 11 tomorrow.
Southgate has had problems with pitches before as well, stating that some teams intentionally left grass uncut to prevent England from playing fast football.
His side were using the pitch for training earlier on in the day, with all 24 members of the squad present earlier today.
The FA are trying to find out whether there will be any complications for the match tomorrow, but it is looking likely that it will go ahead as planned.
The road to Qatar will continue at 7:45 pm on Saturday when England face an Andorra side ranked at 156th in the world.
Kieran Trippier will lead England onto the Estadi Nacional pitch tomorrow, to give him his second national team cap as captain and first in front of fans.
The Atletico Madrid right-back captained England in a fixture against Wales this time last year, however, this was during Covid restrictions and there were no fans at the stadium.