Wednesday 22 January 2020

Slovaks sure play-off venue will be pitch perfect

Tehelné pole Stadium
Tehelné pole Stadium

The Slovakian FA have promised to solve any concerns over the state of the pitch at the national stadium in Bratislava for the March play-off against Ireland after they confirmed that as the venue for the game.

And Irish fans will now begin a scramble for the 1,125 tickets which will be available to away supporters, unless the FAI can seal a deal with their Slovak counterparts to secure more tickets.

While the date (Thursday March 26) for their play-off semi-final at home to Ireland was known, the venue was up in the air.

Slovakia played all of their home qualifiers in the city of Trnava, 50km away from Bratislava, but there were concerns about the ability of that stadium (19,000 capacity) to host a major Euro play-off.

Now the Slovak FA have stated that they will use the National Stadium in Bratislava for the game.

The ground, with a 22,500 capacity, only opened in January after a €75million rebuilding project.

Dundalk played there against Slovan Bratislava in the Europa League qualifiers and Slovan have played their Europa group stage games there but national team boss Pavel Hapal has expressed concerns about the quality of the pitch. Slovakia played against Paraguay in the Bratislava stadium in a friendly in October, a game watched by just 6,000 fans.

"The playing surface was the only major problem and it will be fixed in time," said Slovakia FA chief Jozef Kliment.

"The game against Paraguay went well in other terms. We had planned to play a qualifier with Croatia there in September but we were not ready.

However, it will be ready for the March game."

Slovakia are only obliged to offer the FAI 5 per cent of the capacity (1,125 tickets) but with attendances at Slovakia's games so poor - just 7,900 paid in to see their last home game in the qualifiers - they may offer more tickets to the FAI.

The winners of the Slovakia-Irelandmatch will be away to the side which wins out in the Bosnia-Northern Ireland game.

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