Volcano may force Barcelona to travel early

BARCELONA - Barcelona may travel to London for Saturday's Champions League Final as early as Tuesday because of possible disruption to flights caused by ash billowing from an Icelandic volcano, coach Pep Guardiola said.

Authorities have predicted ash from the Grimsvotn volcano will cover Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and parts of northern Britain by on Tuesday but said they did not expect a repeat of last year's travel chaos.

Guardiola said the Barca players and staff would not be taking any chances ahead of the game against Manchester United at Wembley and could bring their trip, planned for Thursday, forward and take a land route rather than fly.

"We need advice from the experts of course," he told a news conference at the Spanish club's Nou Camp stadium.

"Let´s see what they tell us and if they say we shouldn´t risk it we´ll travel tomorrow or the day after.

"Seeing as the volcano has been asleep for a couple of years I hope it will be asleep for a couple more days."

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.

Guardiola said it was out of the question UEFA would postpone Saturday's match, a repeat of the 2009 final in Rome which Barca won 2-0.

He said he was concerned some of the around 20,000 supporters planning to travel to England would have trouble making the trip from the Catalan capital.

"I hope the news tomorrow (Tuesday) will be good because at the end of the day this is a show for the people," the 40-year-old former Barca and Spain player said.

"It would be very sad to be there in a final and have half the stadium empty because people couldn't travel.

"It is important to have people there but I don't think that we could ever delay the final. I hope we can get there but also the fans as it would be pointless to be there without them."

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.