Fire at Andorra's tiny international stadium fails to postpone England World Cup qualifier

Andorra trained on Friday evening with cones laid out to show the area for players to avoid

England’s World Cup qualifier against Andorra will go ahead on Saturday despite a fire that broke out at the tiny stadium in the principality's capital.

The blaze, which started on a TV gantry shortly after the England team’s training session, briefly threatened Saturday’s kick-off.

Shortly after the England squad left the 3,300-capacity stadium, black smoke filled the air as flames ripped through the structure in Andorra la Vella.

Stadium staff tried to put the blaze under control with sprinklers before the fire brigade arrived. One witness said welders had been working there when the fire started.

England are in the Pyrenees to take on Andorra, ranked 156th in the world, as part of the World Cup qualifying matches.

The England Football Association was initially unsure whether the fire would have an impact on the game, but the Andorran Football Federation confirmed the match was unaffected.

“As we all know there has been a small accident and a fire,” the Andorran spokesperson said.

“No personal harm has been reported, only material damages and the schedule will continue as foreseen.

“There has been an official statement given by our minister of sport and the president of the federation. The match will be played.”

The clean-up operation was under way as Andorra trained on Friday evening, with cones laid out to show the area for players to avoid.

The damaged surface was set to be replaced before Saturday's game, with head coach Koldo Alvarez relaxed about the entire situation.

“I have no idea about the fire, how it started or any information about it,” the Andorra boss said. “The people that are in charge are the ones who are arranging it.

“I think that what we have to do is congratulate everybody because there has been no personal harm, which is the most important part.

“But I have no doubt that the same as we are going to train, we will be able to play tomorrow.”

Part of the dugout melted and the fourth official shelter was destroyed, as was the video assistant referee's monitor.

The walls were blackened and there was debris on a part of the much-discussed artificial surface.

Updated: October 8th 2021, 7:47 PM