Football: Fiery blaze engulfs gantry at football ground in Andorra set to host World Cup qualifier against England

  • 09/10/2021

The Andorra Football Association confirmed Sunday morning's (NZ time) World Cup qualifier against England will go ahead despite a blazing fire breaking out at the national stadium on Saturday. 

The television gantry at the 3,300-seat stadium in the Pyrenees was engulfed in flames just hours after the England team had completed training.

The incident was caught on camera by a Sky Sports News crew, who were filming a live cross the moment the two sets of benches went up in flames.

TalkSPORT reports the fire was caused by welders who were working in the gantry at the time.

Sprinklers were used to try and calm the blaze until the local fire brigade arrived and extinguished the fire before reporting that no one was harmed, although there was significant damage caused.

Questions were immediately raised over whether the England v Andorra clash would go ahead, but on Saturday, an Andorran official told British media that match was on with no change in venue.

"No personal harm has been reported, only material damage," said the official.

"The schedule will continue as planned and the match will go ahead."

ANDORRA LA VELLA, ANDORRA - OCTOBER 08: Firefighters attend an incident at the stadium after the pitchside VAR monitor catches fire at Estadi Nacional on October 08, 2021 in Andorra la Vella, Andorra. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images
ANDORRA LA VELLA, ANDORRA - OCTOBER 08: Firefighters attend an incident at the stadium after the pitchside VAR monitor catches fire at Estadi Nacional on October 08, 2021 in Andorra la Vella, Andorra. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

Andorra, the 156th ranked side in the world, play on artificial turf at the Estadi Nacional, and the surface is not popular with players.

The Welsh team raged about the plastic pitch after a European Championship qualifier in 2014, with Gareth Bale saying it was “by far the worst [pitch] I’ve ever played on”.

However, the Andorran Football Federation said it was improved last year to what an official called a ‘hybrid surface’.