Last year UEFA Champions League semifinalists FC Schalke 04 will have to play their first UEFA Europa League match against Steaua Bucharest in Cluj and not in the Romanian capital as the grass pitch in the newly opened National Stadium was left totally damaged following Tuesday's Euro2012 qualifier between Romania and France.
The grass pitch was newly laid and due to the match did not have the chance to get properly match ready. European football governing body UEFA had two options for the game, 1. move to game to Cluj or 2. delay the match by a week and play on September 21 in Bucharest, then until then a new grass pitch would have been brought in from the Netherlands and rolled out at the venue.
UEFA decided to go with the first option and not delay the match by a week as requested by Steaua Bucharest as they miss out on the home advantage in the game, but even Schalke was willing to wait for a week as they understood the logistical nightmare waiting for both sides due to the change of host city.
Interestingly the new National Stadium in Bucharest will be the hosts of the final of the 2011/12 UEFA Europa League finals on May 9, 2012. Until then the Romanians have enough time to sort out their pitch problems.