It’s the DW... but not as we know it

LATICS host their first ever European home game this evening and the DW Stadium has had to undergo a few changes before welcoming their Slovenian opponents.

NK Maribor will be the first ever overseas team to play in Wigan in a competitive fixture and as well as being alcohol free, the DW Stadium will be renamed for the match, as UEFA’s strict rules insist that no stadium can be named after a commercial sponsor for a Europa League fixture.

School pupils from St Mark's Primary School, Wigan, prepare for their role in the pre-match events before the UEFA Europa League Group D match Wigan Athletic against NK Maribor, held at Wigan Athletic Stadium  (DW Stadium).

School pupils from St Mark's Primary School, Wigan, prepare for their role in the pre-match events before the UEFA Europa League Group D match Wigan Athletic against NK Maribor, held at Wigan Athletic Stadium (DW Stadium).

Other regulations mean Latics officials will have to remove the standard advertising hoardings and only UEFA’s official partners can advertise inside the ground.

There will also be a huge Europa League banner in the centre circle before kick off, which will be carried out by pupils from St Mark’s primary school.

A club spokesman said: “The stadium will be known as the Wigan Athletic Stadium on Thursday evening to comply with UEFA regulations and there will also be no alcohol served in the stadium.”

UEFA’s regulations state that for a Europa League tie: “no public sale or distribution of alcohol is permitted within the stadium.”

Other rules include both teams having to arrive 75 minutes before the kick off time and even strict regulations surrounding watering the pitch and the scoreboard clock have to be adhered to.

In the Latics first Europa League fixture, a 0-0 draw with Zulte Waregem, the Belgian side had to play the fixture in the re-named Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges to meet UEFA’s requirements.

The club will also be obliged to provide all stadium announcements in Slovenian and a minimum of five per cent of tickets must be allocated to away fans.