World Cup news

Northern Ireland eye May date

March 23, 2013
By ESPN staff

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill will request the postponed World Cup qualifier against Russia be played in May to avoid the clash being played outside of the regular European season.

Ground staff help clear snow away from Windsor Park
PA PhotosGround staff help clear snow away from Windsor Park

O'Neill's men were primed for the match on the weekend before inclement weather rendered Windsor Park unplayable twice in 24 hours.

The Group F clash will now need to be squeezed into an already packed schedule, and O'Neill believes there is only one sensible solution.

"When we [Northern Ireland] come to talk about the new date, I will have to take into account that a game in June is well after the players' club season is over.

"If we play on one of the international dates in June that could be four to six weeks since the players were in regular football - well into their summer break. That would not be ideal.

"August is also an option but it would mean Russia cancelling their planned friendly with Argentina and I am not sure they would be willing to do that.

"If possible, I am going for a date in May as close to the end of the season as possible."