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Barça and Newcastle to try again

Published: Wednesday 11 December 2002, 12.56CET
The match between FC Barcelona and Newcastle United FC will be played on Wednesday night.

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Published: Wednesday 11 December 2002, 12.56CET

Barça and Newcastle to try again

The match between FC Barcelona and Newcastle United FC will be played on Wednesday night.

The UEFA Champions League Group A match between FC Barcelona and Newcastle United FC will be played on Wednesday after torrential rain forced its postponement tonight.

UEFA announcement
Mike Lee, UEFA's Director of Communications and Public Services, confirmed the Matchday Eight fixture will kick off at 20.45CET. "Following further discussions between the clubs and UEFA, and considering the fixture problems of next week, it has been agreed that the game should go ahead tomorrow night," he said.

Pitch inspection
The pitch was deemed playable after a 17.00CET inspection but the storm which subsequently broke over Camp Nou left the Belgian referee, Frank De Bleeckere, with no option but to call off the game.

'Spectator sport'
Both coaches felt the decision was the correct one. Louis van Gaal of Barcelona said: "We could not have played on this pitch. Football is a spectator sport and we must think of the spectators first. In my opinion the referee has taken completely the right decision."

'Only decision'
Van Gaal's opposite number, Sir Bobby Robson, added: "The team is here, ready and we know that we've disappointed a lot of fans. It is expensive to stay out or come back and Christmas is coming but we had to take a sensible decision and there was not much we could do. This was the only decision we could take."

Storm at Sturm
The previous Champions League match to fall foul of the weather was last season's meeting of Juventus FC and Bayer 04 Leverkusen, although severe fog was the reason behind that game taking place the following day, the Italian side eventually winning 4-0. The last match to be delayed a day due to rain was SK Sturm Graz's encounter with Real Madrid CF in November 1998.

Away win
Barça beat Bayer 04 Leverkusen 2-1 in Germany on Matchday Seven to maintain their 100 per cent record in this season's competition. Newcastle lost their opening match 4-1 at home to Internazionale FC.

Last updated: 11/12/02 20.58CET

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