How volcanic crisis is affecting sport

Reuters - Mon, 19 Apr 14:18:00 2010

How the volcanic ash cloud which has paralysed air travel has affected sporting events around Europe.

Employees of Germany's largest airline Lufthansa gather at an information counter at the Lufthansa check-in the terminal of the closed Stuttgart airport - 0


Fulham's Europa League semi-final, first leg away to Hamburg on Thursday will go ahead.

Fulham stated that they had a "contingency plan to travel" to enable them to arrive in Hamburg on time for their scheduled preparations on Wednesday evening.

Liverpool, who are in Premier League action against West Ham United later on Monday, were also awaiting news before they travel to Spain to face Atletico Madrid.

London Marathon organisers are also sweating with several elite athletes scheduled to take part in Sunday's race.

Defending champions Sammy Wanjiru from Kenya and Germany's Irina Mikitenko could struggle, as could Japan-based British hope, Mara Yamauchi.

Organisers are regularly monitoring air quality levels, which at the moment they say do not present a health problem, and there are no plans to cancel either the elite or mass participation races.


European champions Barcelona set off on a two-day road trip on Sunday to play Internazionale in a Champions League semi-final on Tuesday, with Barcelona and Milan airports closed.

Osasuna flew a day early on Sunday to play Real Mallorca in a Liga fixture on Monday evening in case of flight problems.

Spain striker Fernando Torres had to travel overland from Liverpool to Barcelona to undergo surgery on his right knee, in a journey that took 30 hours.

Doubts remain over Liverpool's Europa League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid in the Spanish capital on Thursday. UEFA has yet to rule on whether the game will go ahead.

An informal three-day meeting of European sports ministers in Madrid will take place, although some delegations have not been able to travel, a spokesman said.


Rome's main airport and Italy's principal hub has remained open because it is so far south in Europe, meaning the impact of the ash cloud on Italian sport has been limited.

However, northern airports including Milan have been closed.

If the situation in the skies is not resolved, the Czech team could struggle to reach Italy for the Fed Cup tennis semi-final in Rome this weekend but land options are available.

Looking further ahead, the Giro d'Italia cycling race begins in Amsterdam on May 8 and the huge logistics involved in getting bikes, riders and equipment to the Netherlands could cause problems if the flight ban is still in place by then.


A Ligue 2 clash between Le Havre and Ajaccio was the only professional match cancelled in France over the weekend with the team from the Channel port unable to reach the Mediterranean island of Corsica.

Ligue 1 leaders Marseille returned home from their 2-1 victory at Boulogne by bus, a north to south journey of over 1000 kilometres.

Lyon were also forced into making a long road trip to return from a 2-2 draw with Bordeaux, and they must hit the road again for their Champions League semi-final in Munich against Bayern on Wednesday.

"It's our first semi, the first one for the club too. We have to forget about the trip and focus on our match," defender Cris said.


All Bundesliga away teams used trains and buses at the weekend as every national and international airport in Germany was shut.

Lyon are driving in a 10-strong minivan convoy from France to Munich for their Champions League tie with an overnight stop in Stuttgart on Monday.


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