UEFA are not happy with the recent playing conditions at Euro 2016. They are not satisfied with the quality of pitches at Euro 2016 and have vented out their dissatisfaction over the quality of turfs in Marseille, Saint Denis and Lille in particular. They have adopted various measures to improve the conditions as the tournament is on the verge of entering into the next phase, tournament director Martin Kallen said on Friday.
In no other Euro tournaments in the recent past has there been such implicit criticism about the quality of pitches. Some stadiums are scheduled to host 6 matches and the present weather conditions across is making it more worse.
‘The pitches should be better and we’re not happy. We have taken measures to preserve pitches but in a summer tournament you don’t expect it to rain so much,’ said Martin Kallen
Northern France have witnessed one of the worst floods in the month of May just before the build-up to the prestigious tournament. The month of June has been wet in France with random spells of heavy shower across the country.
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Heavy downpour followed by hail storm forced the referee to halt the match between Northern Ireland and Ukraine on Thursday in Lyon. The match was however resumed after 2 minutes.
The pitch in Marseille has been the topic of discussion recently and has drawn huge criticism. France coach Didier Deschamps was furious and came down hard on the stadium owners as he questioned the logical validity of their decision to organise a heavy metal AC/DC concert at the Stade Velodrome just weeks before the tournament. He went forward and called the surface – a disaster.
‘It doesn’t help build your play and leads to a lot of technical errors. Honestly when I saw the photos and videos at the end of the concert, I thought I was in another world, but that’s the power of Highway to Hell,” he told reporters after his team’s last-gasp victory over Albania.
On Friday, UEFA cancelled the training routines for Hungary and Iceland ahead of their group stage clash on Saturday.
Out of all the stadiums, only Parc des Princes in Paris and Lens’s Bollaert-Delelis are strictly used for football. Rest of the stadiums serve a multiple purpose and the owners use them for their own commercial ventures.
The new roofing technology has its own disadvantages as it blocks natural light and wind which turns the pitch more moist.
‘Pitches are a major issue in modern stadiums because they are multi-functional arenas,’ said Kallen.
Kallen asserted that a team of specialists in collaboration with the existing ground staff are looking into the issue and are working to restore the expected quality.
The ground staff use drying machines and fertilisers and are quick to move in with mowers and pitchforks after every game in order to restore the pitch for the next match.
Earlier during Euro 2008 in Switzerland, UEFA had decided to replace the entire pitch as it was heavily affected due to heavy downpour. Talking on this issue, Kallen asserted that such a measure can be adopted again if the situation demands so.
‘We had no choice but to replace the pitch. The risk was enormous,’ he said.