England’s World Cup qualifier against Andorra on Saturday will go ahead as planned despite a spectacular fire at the principality’s National Stadium on Friday, UEFA has confirmed.
Sky Sports News’ England reporter Rob Dorsett was broadcasting live when the fire broke out in the television gantry on the other side of the pitch.
A thick plume of black smoke drifted towards the nearby flats and residential accommodation behind the stand as first stadium employees and then the fire brigade worked to put the fire out.
When the smoke cleared, it was apparent damage had been done to the gantry and VAR monitors as well as one of the dugouts and a small section of the 3G pitch.
Although there was initial doubt whether the game would be allowed to go ahead, Andorra’s Football Federation said the match would be unaffected and that position was confirmed by UEFA on Friday evening.
Replacement VAR equipment is already on-site in Andorra La Vella and a structural engineer is heading to the principality to assess the state of the broadcast gantry.
Officials are satisfied there are other areas inside the 3,300 capacity ground suitable for cameras if the main gantry cannot be used.
Andorra’s players made use of the majority of the pitch for their own training session, which took place a couple of hours after the fire had shocked those on site.
The clean-up was underway while Andorra trained and the small section of damaged pitch will be replaced before Saturday’s 7:45pm kick-off.
England had trained in the morning and the fire happened just after Gareth Southgate and Saturday’s captain Kieran Trippier spoke to the media.
An Andorra Football Federation spokesperson said: “As we all know there has been a small accident and a fire.
“No personal harm has been reported, only material damages and the schedule will continue as foreseen. No changes there (with) press conference and training.
“There has been an official statement given by our minister of sport and the president of the federation. The match will be played.”