May 24, 2011 / 11:42 AM / 8 years ago

Volcano forces Barcelona to travel early to final

Barcelona's Lionel Messi drinks during a training session at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, May 23, 2011. REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona have brought forward their journey to London for the Champions League final and will now leave on Tuesday evening due to the potential disruption to flights caused by a cloud of Icelandic volcanic ash.

“Given the uncertainty caused by the ash from the Grimsvotn volcano, the FC Barcelona first team will travel to London today, Tuesday, at 2200 hours (2000 GMT),” Barca said in a statement on their website (www.fcbarcelona.cat).

Toni Freixa, spokesman for the Spanish club_ts board of directors, said Barca had three options for the journey toplay Manchester United on Saturday at Wembley stadium:

A direct flight to London on Tuesday evening, a flight to Paris on Tuesday evening and a train through the Channel Tunnel to London on Wednesday morning or an overnight train to Paris Tuesday and a train to London the next morning.

Barcelona’s players and officials had planned to travel to the British capital on Thursday.

“We are looking to reduce the risk for the first team to zero,” Freixa said.

Europe’s air traffic control organisation said on Monday if volcanic emissions continued at the same rate the cloud could reach western French and northern Spanish airspace on Thursday.

Barca were forced to travel by bus to Milan for their Champions League semi-final first leg against Inter last season after a different Icelandic volcano erupted and caused air travel gridlock across Europe.

They lost the match 3-1 and went out 3-2 on aggregate after the return leg in Barcelona.

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