Gladbach ‘not happy’ as Manchester City match rearranged for tomorrow

Manchester City's Champions League Group C opener against Borussia Monchengladbach has been rearranged for Wednesday evening following a torrential thunderstorm on Tuesday.

Heavy rain saturated the pitch at the Etihad Stadium in the two hours before the scheduled 7.45pm kick-off and made the surrounding areas dangerous.

A decision to call off the game was eventually taken at around 7.25pm based on safety concerns around the ground. The German club later confirmed a rearranged time of 7.45pm Wednesday.

According to UEFA competition regulations - article 26.03 - a decision on a rearranged date should have been announced within two hours of the postponement, with the following day the clear preference.

However, discussions between the clubs and organisers proved complex. It is understood Gladbach expressed a preference for a 6pm kick-off due to travel concerns, but City were unable to guarantee adequate staffing levels at that time.

Details of the rearranged fixture were eventually announced at 10.05pm, 45 minutes later than stipulated.

Heavy rain at the Etihad Stadium. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA
Heavy rain at the Etihad Stadium. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA

Gladbach were the first to confirm with, moments later, UEFA tweeting: "The #UCL Group C fixture between @ManCity & @borussia_en will be played on Wednesday night at the same time (19.45 local time)."

It is understood City made Gladbach an offer of accommodation at their £200million academy adjacent to the stadium, while it was confirmed all tickets would still be valid for Wednesday.

Gladbach admitted they were not happy with the final decision.

Club spokesman Markus Aretz said: "We asked UEFA and Manchester City play at 6pm because for sporting reasons we wanted to fly back to Germany.

"That was important for us, but City could not make that possible. I don't know the reasons why, they said we had to play at 7.45 like today. So UEFA had to make the decision to play at 7.45. We are not happy with that, but we have to take it like it is.

"City offered us to spend the next night in the academy. That was no help because a hotel was not a problem.

"I think it is always a disadvantage when you have to stay one day longer than planned. I think for the away team it is a disadvantage, without fans."

It became apparent by early evening the game could be under threat as Manchester was battered by severe weather.

In the city centre there were reports of flash flooding, while Metrolink tram services were suspended and Manchester Airport was unable to accept incoming flights for a short time.

A pitch inspection took place at around 6.55pm, involving referee Bjorn Kuipers and other officials, and it was clear a ball would not roll freely.

The surface did drain well when rain finally relented and would have been playable by the scheduled kick-off time, but safety concerns elsewhere were still an issue.

Most City fans had already decided against entering the stadium before the game, but around 1,600 away supporters - many bare-chested and singing defiantly - had taken up their places and booed an announcement of the postponement.

A statement from City read: "Torrential rainfall across Manchester throughout the evening led to flooding in the areas around the ground, which forced the decision on safety and security grounds."

It is the second time in quick succession both clubs have had games called off following inclement weather.

In July, City's pre-season derby against Manchester United in Beijing fell foul of heavy rain, while Gladbach's friendly against Inter Milan last month was also cancelled.

Gladbach midfielder Oscar Wendt said: "We are disappointed for the fans because 90 per cent of them will probably not be able to watch the rearranged game. But if the decision had to be taken for safety reasons then we understand it and respect it."


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