- Tuesday September 2nd, 2008 @ 16:24
STATEMENT FROM CEO
“I would like to confirm that following discussions with Hertha Berlin and UEFA, the away leg of our UEFA Cup tie will be played in the Olympic Stadium, Berlin at 1800 CET on Tuesday 16th September.
"Discussions are ongoing regarding a suitable date for the home leg, the details of which will be confirmed later this week.
“I am very aware the difficulties caused to some of our supporters by the re-arranging of this fixture.
"Following the draw on Friday last at 12.00, and having been in contact with officials from Hertha Berlin, we were unaware of any reason that would affect the game being played on Thursday 18th September.
"At 12.42 we confirmed on this website the game would be played on that date.
“An hour later, following preliminary negotiations with German television networks, Hertha Berlin wished to invoke the UEFA ruling permitting clubs to play games on the Tuesday in the event of three or more clubs competing in the one evening from the same country.
"Schalke, Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg, Hamburg and Stuttgart are all involved in this year's UEFA Cup, and to maximise any TV revenue, we were asked by Hertha Berlin to ‘be flexible'.
"We agreed, on the understanding that they would be equally accommodating in the return leg in Dublin. At 13.42 we updated the website accordingly.
“It goes without saying that the club plan to prepare for this tie in a manner that gives us the greatest opportunity to succeed both on and off the pitch.
"I am sure all our fans would understand and agree with this approach.
"That said, we are aware that agreeing to accommodate Hertha Berlin's belated request following our earlier confirmation of the date has angered many.
“We have had many fixtures changed this season due to the demands of television stations, as have many clubs throughout European football.
"While we are reluctant to set a precedent, and are aware compensating fans for changing fixture dates is not done elsewhere, we would like to make a gesture to supporters as a sign of our appreciation for their support, particularly in previous rounds of this year's UEFA Cup.
“We will announce further details when we have sufficient information about the costs incurred by the supporters thus far.
“We would appreciate peoples' honesty on this matter, thank them for their continued patience and understanding and apologise yet again for the hassle this has caused.”