TNS are set to make a decision today on where they wish to play their "home" leg against Liverpool in the forthcoming Champions League qualifiers. A number of ideas have been put forward, but all of these have pros and cons.
The Millennium Stadium may be too big for the game – when TNS moved their European game against Manchester City to Cardiff they only attracted 12,000 fans. Wrexham may be too small – the Racecourse ground holds around 10,000 fans in seated areas (standing areas are not permitted for use in European fixtures). Their own ground does not meet UEFA regulations and certainly be too small in any case – TNS are hoping to get a great cash boost from the tie.
Goodison Park is another option but this has been met with opposition from many Evertonians. They feel the sight of Liverpool fans celebrating last season’s Champions League success in their ground would be unpalateable. There had been a suggestion that they might want to turn up to cheer on TNS, but the general feeling seems to be that they’d rather pretend the game wasn’t being played. Additionally the ground is not yet ready for the new season.
The game doesn’t have to be played in Wales – the rules allow for the game to be played in another country if UEFA agree to it. This opens up more option for TNS if they want to explore them – including the likes of the Reebok Stadium in Bolton.
A decision is expected later today.
The following is extracted from UEFA’s Champions League regulations:
"3.10 All matches must be played in all-seater stadiums. The use of temporary stands is not authorised. Benches, whether concrete, metal, wooden or plastic, topped or not with wooden slats, etc., are not acceptable (see the provisions of the UEFA Binding Safety and Security Instructions).
3.11 In principle, as from the group stage, a club must play all its matches in the UEFA Champions League at one and the same ground. Matches may be played either on the ground of the home club or on another ground in the same or another city within the territory of its national association, or, if so decided by the UEFA Administration and/or the UEFA Organs for the Administration of Justice, in the territory of another UEFA member association. In principle, venues are approved only if direct international flights and/or charter flights are able to land within an acceptable distance of the venue in the country of the club concerned. If the match is being played in another city or country, the venue is subject to the approval of the UEFA Administration."