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Wrecked Lille pitch to be relaid

UEFA has confirmed that the pitch at Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy will be relaid after both Didier Deschamps and Vladimir Petkovic were critical of it cutting up.

France and Switzerland rounded off their Group A campaign with a 0-0 draw in Lille, as both sides struggled for fluency on a pitch affected by four days of persistent rain.

“The players deserve credit, it was better than Marseille but it’s annoying,” Deschamps said. “I don’t know who is responsible but we’re only in the group stage. It’s not a good thing.”

Swiss coach Petkovic added: “It’s a shame, it definitely hampered the quality of the game.”

With games in the round of 16 and quarter-finals to come at the venue, UEFA has sprung into action, with the pitch to be torn up immediately after Italy and Republic of Ireland play there on Wednesday.

A UEFA statement read: “The extremely difficult weather conditions in the past few weeks (rain, humidity, lack of sunshine) have caused irreversible damage to the surface at the stadium, in spite of a series of measures (a ban on pre-match training on the pitch, use of fertilisers, seeding, mowing, light therapy and drying) put in place to allow the playing surface to recover.
“The new pitch will be transported from the Netherlands and its installation will be completed on the afternoon of 24 June.
“UEFA has previously successfully carried out the replacement of a pitch during a Euro final tournament; the pitch at St-Jakob Park in Basel was replaced during UEFA Euro 2008 following extreme weather. That allowed the following three matches at the stadium to be played in excellent conditions, and UEFA is confident that will also be the case for the last-16 and quarter-final matches which will take place in Lille on 26 June and 1 July respectively.”

Pitches at Marseille’s Stade Velodrome and the Stade de France have been repaired, with UEFA claiming the work “is already bearing fruit and these pitches should be in good condition within a few days”.

Tue 21 Jun, 2016
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