Gareth Southgate explains Tomori's England recall
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England’s World Cup qualifier against Andorra is in doubt after the dugouts and gantry at tomorrow’s venue – the Estadi Nacional – were engulfed in flames this afternoon. Video footage captured just how quickly the fire spread as the local emergency services rushed to the scene in attempt to diffuse the situation.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, although Sky Sports reporter Rob Dorsett cited that there was some workers wielding a structure by the side of the pitch before the incident.
Hoses and sprinklers were quickly deployed and the firefighters on hand were able to get the flames under control safely.
The dugouts and gantry, where commentators were expected to cover the game, were badly damaged during the incident, creating obvious healthy and safety concerns ahead of tomorrow’s encounter.
It’s understood there were no injuries while the artificial pitch has not suffered any damage, sparking optimism the game could still go ahead.
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Dorsett was able to report live from the scene and he provided a clear update on his understanding of the incident during a Sky Sports News broadcast.
“You can see behind me, there’s really good news, it looks like the firefighters have now got the fire under control,” he said.
“They’re dampening down one or two flames left at the bottom there. That was a pretty major blaze you have to say. It happened very, very quickly while I was doing that live report.
“It was our cameraman Anthony that spotted it out of the corner of his eye and panned across too it. Huge flames as you saw billowing out of that area over there. That frame, that structure you’re looking at, is the gantry, that’s where the commentators will sit for tomorrow night’s game.
“It’s got the cameras above it as well, that’s where the match would’ve been filmed from, the main match camera would be cited up there.
“Real question marks whether that can go ahead. Important to stress we don’t think anybody has been injured as a result of this fire. There will be people concerned.”
Dorsett also confirmed that the England team were well away from the scene and back in their hotel as the Three Lions wait for some clarity from UEFA as to whether the game will go ahead.
“They’re not involved in any way at all,” he added. “We think it may have been somebody doing some welding there on a metal structure before tomorrow’s game that somehow caught fire.
“The explosion you heard during my live report we think was that cylinder for the welding that exploded. As you can see from the body language of the firefighters now, they’re calm and they feel as though they’ve got this situation under control. But those are important facilities for England’s game tomorrow.
“That’s where the game will be shown from, where the commentators will speak from. The officials’ dugout was underneath it.
“All of that has been completely destroyed. So what happens to this game? We have to wait and see. We have to talk to UEFA and find out what the official position is. We’re still 50 or 60 metres away, has the pitch where those firefighters are been damaged by the very intense heat we saw over there? It’s a plastic pitch, a synthetic 3G pitch.
“The heat from the flames you fear may have damaged the pitch over there. The two dugouts either side are where the manager and substitutes will sit.
“All of that has to be assessed now and decided whether it’s safe for this game to go ahead or whether things need to be changed and repaired for it to go ahead as planned.”
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