Tuesday 16 January 2018

Hodgson seeks UEFA solution with travel plan still grounded


James Wrigley

ROY HODGSON has urged UEFA not to force Fulham to travel by land and sea to Hamburg for Thursday’s Europa League semi-final should the flight restrictions caused by the cloud of volcanic ash over Europe continue.

Europe’s governing body will make a decision today about the week’s European fixtures, although it is expected Lyon and Barcelona will journey by rail for the first legs of their respective Champions League semifinals against Bayern Munich and Internazionale. Fulham manager Hodgson expects UEFA to make exceptions for Fulham and Liverpool because of the complication of getting to mainland Europe, with the Merseyside club away to Atletico Madrid.

“I’m convinced that’s what UEFA want as well. Not just for us but the big teams left in the semi-finals of the Champions League and Europa League,” Hodgson said.

“They will want to make sure there’s no risk afterwards that one of the teams turns round and say it wasn’t fair, that they had to travel 20 hours in difficult conditions, whereas when the next game is played the team can fly for an hour and be there to play.

“My hope remains that the volcanic ash will pass over or will no longer be deemed to be a problem and flights will continue. It would be nice to play the game as scheduled.”

Hodgson, after his team’s dreadful stalemate with Wolves, agreed that the advantage of playing the second leg at home could disappear: “It will be a disadvantage if we can’t fly and are obliged to find other means of travel.

One of the major difficulties will be finding that means of travel. It’s not going to be easy. The trains are fully booked because there are no flights.

“If there is a solution, which might be to switch the games and make it a week later, and a week later again, then we’ll happily abide by it.”

Fulham (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Baird, Hughes, Smalling, Konchesky; Duff, Murphy, Etuhu, Davies; Zamora, Gera. Substitutes not used: Zuberbühler (gk), Pantsil, Okaka, Nevland, Greening, Dikgacoi.

Wolves (4-1-4-1): Hahnemann; Zubar, Craddock, Berra, Elokobi; Mancienne; Foley, Edwards (Guedioura, 70), Jones (Milijas, 73), Jarvis (Iwelumo, 79); Doyle. Substitutes not used: Hennessey (gk), Ebanks-Blake, Ward, Halford.

Referee: M Dean (Wirral).

Booked: Fulham Zamora.

Man of the match: Craddock.

Attendance: 25,597.

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