Still no decision about UEFA Cup game

Last updated : 13 January 2004 By Martyn Elliott

Remarkably, the issue has been rumbling on since the draw was made on December 12, with the likely February temperatures in Oslo the source of the problem.

Various solutions have been suggested, but none have been satisfactory to both clubs and UEFA leading to the current stand off.

An increasingly frustrated United board issued the following statement today to clarify their position.

"The club is doing everything possible to resolve what is proving to be a difficult issue, regrettably, it is being hampered by circumstances beyond its control.

"The club received notification on Friday from the English Football Association that UEFA had decided that this match would be played in the Ullevaal Stadium in Oslo.

"UEFA further confirmed that in the event that the game could not take place in Oslo, then Rosenborg's Lerkendal Stadium in Trondheim, 500km and six-and-a-half hours away by train, would be the second choice venue the next day.

"Newcastle United immediately raised objections with UEFA with regard to both of these decisions, which ignored all the issues the club has raised in previous correspondence and which place both Newcastle United and travelling supporters at risk in numerous ways.

"The fact that Valerenga IF has been required to name a second-choice venue clearly demonstrates that UEFA are far from confident that the game will take place on February 26 because of the historical weather conditions and fixture history in Oslo during that month.

"United have told UEFA that their instructions are totally unacceptable given Trondheim's location and have again repeated their original suggestion that the first leg game is played in a location where the game can go ahead without the clearly evident difficulties that both the existing proposals carry for both sets of fans.

"On this basis and taking into account the concerns shared by all three parties (UEFA, Valerenga IF and Newcastle United), the club is in no doubt that UEFA should establish a venue where the game has more than an even chance of taking place on February 26 and have once again urged them to do so."