Roof will be closed for Ireland’s WC qualifier

Fifa advocates decision due to snow and freezing temperatures in Stockholm

A general view of the Friends Arena in Stockholm, where the roof will be closed when the Republic of Ireland play Sweden on Friday night. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/GettyImages

A general view of the Friends Arena in Stockholm, where the roof will be closed when the Republic of Ireland play Sweden on Friday night. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/GettyImages

Wed, Mar 20, 2013, 12:40

The Republic of Ireland's World Cup qualifier against Sweden in Stockholm on Friday night seems certain to be played under a closed roof at the Friends Arena, according to an official communiqué from Fifa.

Irish manager Giovanni Trapattoni had indicated he would prefer for the roof to be open - but Fifa have suggested the prevailing weather conditions which include freezing temperatures and snow mean it would be better for all concerned from a playing and safety perspective if the roof was closed.

In response to an inquiry from sports writer Michael Wagner of Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet , world soccer's governing body stated: "Fifa is currently assessing the weather situation with the host association and, as you will acknowledge, common sense should prevail at all times in order to ensure the best playing-football conditions to both teams as well as ensure safety and security to the public and local organising committee on duty.

"At the moment, the roof is closed and the weather conditions are proven to be very adverse, with ice and snowfalls and extreme temperatures. The weather forecast up to the match seems not to show any kind of drastic improvement in this respect.

"Opening the roof would be too dangerous (it's currently covered with ice and snow) and certainly difficult to understand if we want to preserve the pitch fit and playing conditions that are normal. At the time of writing, we do not see how (and why) we could imagine opening the roof, but the final decision will be taken upon arrival of our match commissioner on site. You may check with us again on Thursday or Friday."