Poland-England World Cup qualifier washed out

Heavy rain in Warsaw on Tuesday forced the postponement of Poland's 2014 World Cup qualifier against England, leaving fans disgruntled and the two sides wrangling over a new date.

Eventually agreement was reached to reschedule the Group H tie back at the Kazimierz Gorski Stadium at 1700 local time (1500GMT) on Wednesday.

With a day-long deluge leaving the pitch waterlogged, FIFA delegate Danijel Jost called the match off after a string of inspections had delayed the planned 2100 (1900 GMT) kick off.

"It was a decision taken by the delegate, with the agreement of both teams," said Polish football association spokeswoman Agnieszka Olejkowska.

With Poland and England fans' travel plans in disarray, the fiercely-partisan Polish crowd made their disapproval clear with a hail of catcalls and whistling.

Jost settled in favour of England following wrangling over the new timing, with Poland having sought to shift the game to November but finally giving way.

England manager Roy Hodgson said the postponement was a blow.

"It's disappointing because we had prepared well for this evening, not to say the Poles hadn't either," he told ITV.

"I had no idea the conditions were as bad as this as I had been in my hotel room.

"I guess it is up to the people who run the stadium as to whether to close the roof before the game. They will be feeling pretty sore, and also they will pay a price as I don't know how many fans will come back on a Wednesday afternoon to watch the game."

Hodgson's Polish counterpart Waldemar Fornalik said he was deeply unhappy.

"Today was the optimal date for us. We'd done everything for our squad to be in the right physical shape and state of mind. This is not good for the players," he said.

"We proposed November 14, when England have a friendly with Sweden and we have one with Uruguay. We suggested that we play each other and that Sweden play Uruguay. But the English held firm, saying they didn't want that."

The 58,000-capacity stadium was purpose-built for Euro 2012, which Poland hosted in June along with neighbouring Ukraine.

Also used as a concert venue, it has a retractable roof and questions were raised immediately as to why that was not closed ahead of the game.

Match organisers are barred from taking a unilateral decision to open or close a roof, requiring a FIFA green light, Olejkowska noted.

Pressed over an apparent lack of contingency plans, Olejkowska said: "The forecast that we were given was light showers for two hours."

The Warsaw pitch has often come in for criticism, having to be re-laid several times.

But Daria Kuklinska, spokeswoman for stadium operator NCS, rejected claims that it was not good enough.

"With this amount of rain continuously falling, no drainage system could get rid of it. It's a different story when you have a 20 minute downpour that comes to an end," Kuklinska said.

"It takes 15 minutes to close the roof. However, this cannot happen in a temperature below zero, with very strong wind, and rain deposited on the folded roof," she added.

Hodgson and Fornalik will have been relieved that one of their main rivals in the group, Ukraine, lost 1-0 at home to Montenegro on Tuesday.

It wasn't the first time the veteran England coach had been frustrated by the weather.

"When I was at Malmo we had a game with Ajax postponed at the last minute because of a snow storm and we had to play it a few days later."

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