There were peculiar scenes in the English Football League this week as the start of the Championship clash between Hull City and Birmingham City had to be delayed for the strangest of reasons.
Indeed, kick-off at the MKM Stadium had to be postponed for around 20 minutes after ground staff were forced to cut two inches off the height of the goalposts in order for the game to go ahead.
Hull City’s goalposts had to be sawn down to size because they were found to be two inches too tall, causing a delay to their match against Birmingham. pic.twitter.com/TZmGEHzDkI
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) October 16, 2022
The issue was flagged during prematch checks made by referee Leigh Doughty, who noticed that the goals were too big and therefore needed to be reduced to regulation size by manually sawing a couple of inches off the base of each post.
Furthermore the Hawkeye software used to monitor the goal line technology system then needed to be readjusted too, which took several more minutes.
Birmingham went on to win the match 2-0, with manager John Eustace suggesting that the delayed kick-off might have helped his side by allowing them a little extra time to focus on the game beforehand.
Bizarre as the situation at Hull City’s stadium might have been it wasn’t entirely unprecedented as similar disarray preceded a recent UEFA Women’s Champions League qualifying game between Arsenal and Ajax.
While his side were warming up prematch, Gunners’ coach Jonas Eidevall noticed that the Ajax crossbars were almost four inches lower than they should be and thus understandably demanded that they be raised to standard height.
“A very weird experience.” 🤔
The goals at Ajax were too small ahead of last night’s Women’s Champions League qualifier with Jonas Eidevall’s Arsenal. 😅📐 pic.twitter.com/YufWHAz0aA
— Sky Sports WSL (@SkySportsWSL) September 29, 2022
Speaking after the game, Eidevall admitted it was a “weird experience” and one that he’d not encountered in football before though thankfully it didn’t prevent his side from winning 1-0 in Amsterdam and 3-2 on aggregate to seal their place in the Champions League group stage.
The men’s Champions League is no stranger to crossbar chaos either, with the start of the 1997-98 semifinal first leg between Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund postponed for over 70 minutes when a group of over-exuberant Madrid fans climbed a perimeter fence at the Westfalenstadion and caused it to collapse under their weight.
It just so happened that the fence was connected via a cable to one of the goals which was also pulled down in the process, causing Dortmund officials to begin desperately scouring the local area for a set of replacement posts, which were duly sourced from Real’s training camp — hence the delay.
Back in the Championship, there looks to have been a spate (of sorts) of goalpost discrepancies in recent weeks with Wigan Athletic reportedly facing an FA inquiry into claims made by opponents Cardiff City that the crossbars at the DW Stadium were uneven heights when the two sides met earlier this month.
FA laws dictate that crossbars must be no higher than eight feet from the ground but the Bluebirds filed a complaint that one of them exceeded that limit. Wigan’s grounds staff did their best to drop the frame of the raised goal but attempts were unsuccessful, leading the game to go ahead 10 minutes later than scheduled with the bars still uneven.
“We were initially told we’d have to wait a couple of hours for it to sink another couple of inches, but no-one wanted that. We decided to continue with it, and it was the same for both sides,” Cardiff’s caretaker manager Mark Hudson told reporters. “I did ask if we could attack that end in both halves but they weren’t having that!”
Coincidentally, Cardiff went onto win 3-1 with their third goal cannoning in off the underside of the higher crossbar.