UEFA to improve field after turf cuts up in England-Denmark game

FRANKFURT: After England and Denmark played in the European Championship on a Frankfurt field that cut up following days of rain, UEFA said on Friday they were working on “specific issues” to improve the quality.

There was a brief but intense rain storm on Friday evening but the roof on the Waldstadion was closed as it had been for 24 hours before kickoff on Thursday in the England-Denmark game.

Frankfurt has had steady rain all week and having the option to close the stadium roof has protected the field that was used all season by host club Eintracht Frankfurt.

But chunks of turf were kicked up during England’s 1-1 draw with Denmark and several players slipped on the greasy grass in humid conditions on a 23°C day.

“A detailed maintenance plan is in place to address specific issues and further improve quality ahead of the upcoming fixtures at the venue,” UEFA said in a statement.

Germany play Switzerland in the stadium today, then there’s Slovakia-Romania on Wednesday, and a round-of-16 game on July 1 for the Group F winner, which could be Portugal.

Germany midfielder Chris Fuhrich said on Friday the field at Frankfurt has a reputation of being “not so firm” and “players have had problems with it.”

“It’s extremely slippery, it slips out very quickly and gets messed up. So you have problems with stopping yourself properly,” said Fuhrich, who has played there with his club Stuttgart.

UEFA have replacement fields ready to bring in when needed. The playing surface at Switzerland’s training stadium was relaid this week after a formal complaint.

England coach Gareth Southgate said he noticed the Frankfurt field break up when Belgium played there on Monday and lost to Slovakia 1-0.

“I’ve been a defender, when you play on a pitch like that it puts you on edge because you are not sure of your footing,” Southgate said after Thursday’s game.

UEFA said their expert field consultants “have seen the overall pitch rating improve consistently over the course of the previous season.”

Persistent rain in Germany during Euro 2024 has added to issues with fields that were relaid before the competition. In Hamburg, Poland and Holland could not practise on the surface before the opening game at Volksparkstadion last Sunday.

Playing surfaces have been relaid during previous tournaments with turf brought from Holland: During Euro 2016 at Lille, France, and Euro 2008 at Basel, Switzerland. — AP

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