Euro 2016: Wales venue in doubt as Andorra carry out pitch work

By Owain Llyr BBC Cymru Wales Sport
Estadi Comunal d'Andorra la Vella
Andorra had previously played their home games at the Estadi Comunal d'Andorra la Vella

Wales could find their opening Euro 2016 qualifier switched to a different country if Andorra cannot fix the new pitch at the rebuilt national stadium.

Fifa tests have shown the ball rolls too fast on the 3G artificial surface.

The pitch was inspected on Thursday to check if it is suitable but a final decision will not be made until Monday 1 September at the earliest.

If Andorra cannot solve the problem, then the qualifier with Wales on 9 September will have to be moved.

The new 3,300-capacity national stadium in the capital Andorra le Vella is the only venue capable of hosting the Euro qualifier against Chris Coleman's Wales side.

One option would be to move the game to neighbouring Spain, although at this point Andorra have admitted there is no alternative plan in place.

A Uefa spokesman has told BBC Wales that should the pitch be deemed unplayable then a new venue will have to be found - just a week before kick-off.

However, Andorra sporting co-ordinator Jordi Beal is confident that they can make the required alterations in time.

"There was one test that didn't work very well, it's not a big deal but we have to do some work now and we expect to have the re-evaluation next Monday or Thursday," said Beal.

The decision was taken to install an artificial pitch as it is used by both rugby and football teams.

Laboratory and field tests have been carried out on the new surface to see whether it is fit to play on.

The tests included durability, how the surface reacts to players' skin when sliding, how the ball rolls and bounces on the turf and how it absorbs the shock of a player hitting the floor when falling.

Wales manager Chris Coleman said they would wait for Fifa's verdict: "Ideally we'd be on the grass as we're not used to playing on a 3G pitch.

"I was speaking to Carlo [Real Madrid manager Ancelotti] and he said when Madrid played on 3G pitch against weaker opposition the players struggled because they didn't like the surface.

"My message to our players is 'forget where we're playing'. We've got to get a result and whatever the surface we've got to get through it and do our job.

"If Fifa say we're not going to play on that pitch and we're going to play on the grass, we'll play on the grass.

"But if they say we've got to play on 3G, we'll play on 3G - and get a result. That's how it is."

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