20 Instances of Weather Wreaking Havoc on Football Matches
Wednesday’s Premier League cancellations at Eastlands and on Merseyside were anything but isolated events, at least in the big picture.
Football, at both the club and international levels, has often been forced to succumb to the elements—to heat, wind, rain and, at least on one occasion, to volcanoes.
Following are 20 instances of weather wreaking havoc on football matches.
20. Eight Scottish Matches Postponed Because of Snow
Cold weather in early December 2012 forced the postponement of eight SFL matches, including a Scottish Cup tie between Hamilton and Dumbarton.
In an interview with his club’s official website, as relayed by BBC Sport, Hamilton secretary Scott Struthers described the conditions as “bone-hard everywhere, with thick puddles of frozen ice in many places.”
19. Parma-Juventus Part of a Triple Cancellation in Serie A
A trio of Serie A matches were called off in early February 2012 due to heavy snowfall throughout the country’s north.
Parma-Juventus was the most high-profile fixture to be rescheduled, and there were also postponements at Bologna and Siena, who had been set to face Fiorentina and Catania, respectively.
18. Napoli-Juventus Called off Due to Flooding
An early November flood in Naples forced the postponement of a high-profile Serie A match between Napoli and Juventus in 2011.
Earlier the same weekend, Genoa’s match at home to Inter Milan was also called off due to flash floods.
17. New York Red Bulls-DC United Delayed by Snow and Wind
North America’s top flight has become accustomed to the occasional postponement due to weather—typically snow and freezing temperatures—but in November 2012, they were forced to reschedule a playoff match.
The Eastern Conference showdown between New York Red Bulls and D.C. United had initially been abandoned on Wednesday because of swirling wind and snow, and after looking at the forecast, Major League Soccer officials decided to reschedule the encounter for Thursday night.
16. Brest-PSG Postponed by Rain
The winter of 2013-14 has cut a wide path, and early last month, it was the northwest of France’s turn for a taste of bad weather.
Perhaps the most prestigious casualty of the conditions was a Coupe de France tie between Brest and PSG that had to be postponed.
15. Sydney FC-Perth Glory Cancelled Due to Thunder and Lightning
Brett Emerton’s much-anticipated match against Perth Glory (the former Blackburn Rovers midfielder was born in Perth) was postponed after his home-town side were unable to travel to Sydney for an A-League showdown in December 2011.
Thunder and lightning storms in Australia’s west prevented flights from taking off in Perth.
14. Poland-England Qualifier Called off Due to Rain
For the first time since 1979, an England match was called off after the officials deemed the Warsaw pitch unplayable ahead of a 2014 World Cup qualifier in the Polish capital in October 2012.
Curiously, the stadium’s retractable roof had been left open throughout the deluge, and the thousands of travelling fans who had followed the Three Lions were none too happy about the whole ordeal.
13. Northern Ireland-Russia Postponed Because of Snow and Ice
Another 2014 World Cup qualifier—this one between Northern Ireland and Russia—was called off last March because of conditions in Belfast.
A heavy snowfall had been followed by an ice storm, and the combination of the conditions and power outages forced the postponement of the match.
12. Everton-Crystal Palace Postponement Disappoints a Patient Fan
Ric Wee, an Everton fan of 30 years, had finally arrived for his first match at Goodison Park on Wednesday—only for the Toffees’ Premier League encounter at home to Crystal Palace to be cancelled an hour before kickoff.
But in a classy move, Everton manager Roberto Martinez and several of his players met with Wee, as per The Independent.
11. Eintracht Braunschweig Attempt to Dry Pitch with Helicopter
Talk about German innovation.
Earlier this month, a crew of helicopter pilots hovered over the waterlogged pitch at Eintracht Braunschweig in an attempt to dry the surface.
But as the helicopters were actually designated for emergencies only, the authorities got wind of the scheme as part of a broader investigation into corruption, according to Metro.
10. Marseille-Lyon Delayed Due to Wind
In late October 2012, a high-profile match between Ligue 1 rivals Marseille and Lyon was postponed due to extreme wind conditions.
So devastating were the gusts that they actually capsized a large ferry along the Marseille docks.
9. Benfica-Sporting Lisbon Cancelled Because of Wind
The stadium that will host this season’s UEFA Champions League final was damaged by high winds in the Portuguese capital on Sunday.
The conditions also caused the postponement of the Lisbon derby between Benfica and Sporting, and according to Portuguese Football League president Mario Figueiredo, as per The Guardian, pieces of glass that had blown off the roof had flown onto the pitch.
8. Al-Ahly-Coton Postponed Due to Wind and Rain
Last October, an African Champions League semifinal was called off because of extreme weather conditions in the northern Cameroon city of Garoua.
A port city along the Benue River, the home of Coton Sport had sustained a deluge of rains and high winds before their prestigious semifinal against Egyptian giants Al-Ahly was postponed.
7. Newcastle-Swansea Abandoned Due to Fog
More than 63,000 fans had gathered at St. James’ Park to watch a January 1953 FA Cup match against visiting Swansea.
But after only eight minutes, the match was abandoned due to a thick fog that had settled over the pitch.
6. Perth Glory-Melbourne Heat Cancelled Because Of, Well, Heat
Just last week, Australia’s A-League for the first time cancelled a match because of extreme heat.
The encounter between Perth Glory and Melbourne Heat had been delayed two hours due to temperatures of around 40C, but even after kickoff, it didn’t get much cooler than 39.8C.
Both sides agreed on three drinks breaks during the 90 minutes, according to the Herald Sun.
5. Galatasaray-Juventus Called off Due to Heavy Snow
Last December’s crucial Champions League encounter between group stage rivals Galatasaray and Juventus was abandoned after 32 minutes because of heavy snowfall.
Scoreless at the time, a draw would have been enough to take Juventus through to the last 16.
But a Wesley Sneijder goal with five minutes remaining in the match (it was resumed a day later) put the Turkish giants into the knockout round at the Italian champions’ expense.
4. Premier League’s 2010 Holiday Fixture Period Iced over
The Premier League’s holiday fixture schedule of 2010 was anything but festive, as seven matches were called off leading up to Christmas, and two more were postponed on Boxing Day.
In all, the heavy snowfall and icy conditions caused no fewer than 21 Boxing Day cancellations throughout the league.
3. Play Goes on Despite Mud and Slog in Tasmania
Sometimes you just play on.
According to Hobart newspaper The Mercury, as preserved and digitised by Trove, a handful of Tasmanian Football League matches in 1932 were contested despite conditions the newspaper described as “a real menace to health.”
Several grounds were “almost under water,” but one particular “mud scramble” between Cananore and Lefroy went ahead in front of more than 1,300 spectators.
2. Walsall-Newcastle Abandoned Due to Fading Light
Way back in 1894, a Second Division match between Walsall Town Swifts and Newcastle was delayed by 20 minutes as players reached a payment agreement with the club owners.
According to Football Site, neither club was in particularly good financial shape at the time.
And as it turned out, those 20 minutes without playing proved costly.
In the 78th minute, the referee abandoned the match because there simply wasn’t enough light left to play in.
1. Barcelona Take the Bus After Volcanic Ash Grounds Flights
Barcelona were reigning European champions when they prepared to face Inter Milan in the 2010 Champions League semifinals.
But the Catalans—favoured to win the tie—were forced to travel more than 600 miles by bus after volcanic ash from the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland grounded flights throughout Europe.
The journey took its toll on the Spanish giants, who lost 3-1 at the San Siro en route to a 3-2 loss to the Nerazzurri on aggregate.