Stormy weather forces postponement of leading European football matches

National and World News
Waves crash over Newhaven Lighthouse on the south coast of England on February 9, 2020, as Storm Ciara swept over the country. – Britain and Ireland hunkered down Sunday for a powerful storm expected to disrupt air, rail and sea links, cancel sports events, cut electrical power and damage property. With howling winds and driving rain, forecasters said Ciara would also hit France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany. (Photo by GLYN KIRK / AFP) (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNN) — A number of major European football games were called off Sunday as heavy rain and winds hit the continent.

Manchester City’s Premier League match with West Ham was postponed as Storm Ciara lashed the United Kingdom with rain and winds of up to 80mph (130km/h), damaging buildings and causing transport disruption.

“Due to extreme and escalating weather conditions and in the interests of supporter and staff safety, today’s match has been postponed,” said a statement on the Manchester City website.

“This decision has been made by Manchester City’s Safety Officer following consultation with Club stakeholders and officials at West Ham United,” added the statement.

The entire Women’s Super League football program in England — including derbies between Arsenal and Tottenham as well as Everton and Liverpool — was also wiped out by the weather.

The north London derby had been a sell-out, while the game between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park had been expected to attract a 20,000-plus crowd.

In Germany, Borussia Moenchengladbach’s Bundesliga match against Cologne on Sunday was also called off.

“As the safe travel of the fans after the game cannot be guaranteed, Borussia Moenchengladbach has decided in consultation with the city, fire brigade, police and the German Football League (DFL) to cancel the game,” said Moenchengladbach in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) took the decision to postpone Sunday’s four top-flight matches as well as all amateur games.

“The games for Sunday, February 9 in the Eredivisie are canceled,” said the KNVB in a statement.

“After frequent consultations with the Eredivisie clubs, municipalities, police and KNVB, it was concluded that the safety of the fans and players cannot be guaranteed due to the expected weather conditions.

“The matches in the entire national amateur football are also canceled.”

Belgium’s Pro League also postponed three games, rescheduling them for later this week.

Football wasn’t the only sport hit by the weather, with the women’s Six Nations game between Scotland and England also called off.

The British Meteorological Office (Met Office) named Storm Ciara on Wednesday and issued weather warnings for four consecutive days from Saturday to Tuesday.

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