Europa League

Hodgson hoping for 'level playing field'

TEAMtalk Media Group, TEAMtalk Media Group
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Roy Hodgson believes it would be unfair if UEFA chiefs forced Fulham to travel to Hamburg for Thursday's Europa League semi-final by land.

The Cottagers' first leg in Germany is in jeopardy thanks to the volcanic ash cloud which has engulfed Europe's skies, causing Britain's airports to remain closed all weekend.

UEFA Europa League

Thu., Apr. 22
Atletico 1-0 Liverpool | Recap
Hamburg 0-0 Fulham | Recap
Thu., Apr. 29
Liverpool 2-1 (aet) Atletico | Recap
Fulham 2-1 Hamburg | Recap
Wed., May 12 - FINAL
Atletico 2-1 (aet) Fulham | Recap
Should British airspace remain closed until Wednesday, Fulham would have to catch a train or ferry to mainland Europe before making their way to northern Germany by road or rail.

Hodgson believes that would put his side's chances of making their first European final in history under threat.

"It will be a disadvantage if we can't fly and were obliged to find other means of travel," said Hodgson after Saturday's goalless draw with Wolves.

"One of the major difficulties will be finding that means of travel.

"We wouldn't be able to contemplate booking anything until probably sometime during Monday, which would make it very late."

UEFA are expected to confirm on Monday whether or not the Europa League semi-finals will go ahead.

Hodgson said his side will abide by any decision that UEFA make, and is confident that Europe's governing body will make the right call.

"We'll deal with whatever situation occurs," said the 62-year-old.

"If it turns out that we are told that you have to travel anyway and you have to make the best of it and you have to travel there as best you can then we'll travel there the best we can and we'll still do our best on the night.

"I'm convinced UEFA want to make it as level a playing field as possible."

Approximately 2,500 Fulham fans have bought tickets for the game against the German side, who include former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy among their ranks.

Hodgson believes those fans will be the losers if they have to make the journey should airspace remain closed.

"It would be a disaster for them," said the former Inter Milan boss.

"It would be a real shame. For 30 or 40 people you might find train seats but for the 2,500 who have been really looking forward to this game then it's different."

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