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Arsenal can lay down a marker

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By ESPN Staff

Ukraine coach backs postponement qualifier

KIEV, March 21 (Reuters) - Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin wants Saturday's Euro 2008 Group B qualifying match in the Faroe Islands to be postponed after officials expressed concern over the state of the pitch due to snow.

'How should I feel about a postponement? I proposed long ago postponing this match until August, but the French and the Italians rejected that,' Blokhin told a news conference on Wednesday.

'The weather conditions on the Faroes are now typical for this time of year. I will be very pleased if the match is postponed. A match should be played in acceptable weather conditions.'

'I cannot rule out a situation in which we would fly in for the game, go on to the pitch only to be told by the referee that it is impossible to play and then have to fly home,' Blokhin added.

Officials in the Faroes said the pitch was in poor condition after several days of snow. A decision on whether to postpone the match in Toftir will be made later on Wednesday.

'It snowed for three or four days and now it's raining,' said Isak Mikladal of the Faroe Islands FA. 'Right now it's impossible to play on that field.'

In a statement on its Web site, the Ukrainian soccer federation said it would agree to a postponement.

'If UEFA agrees with the proposal... we are prepared to accept your idea and play the match in question on Aug. 22 without seeking any compensation for our losses,' the statement said.

Blokhin said the sole drawback from a postponement would be a lack of preparation for Ukraine's next Euro qualifier on March 28 at home to Lithuania.

'If the match is postponed, the only bad thing would be that we will have very little practice ahead of the match with Lithuania.'

Ukraine are fourth in the seven-team group with six points from three games. The Faroes are in last place. Scotland, France and Italy occupy the top places.