Heavy rains make poor pitch conditions a worry at EURO 2016

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There have been plenty of issues surrounding EURO 2016: security, fan violence, and work strikes around France just to name a few.

But one issue that is also affecting the tournament is that of poor pitch conditions.

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Much of France has battled record rainfall over the past few weeks, with flooding a major issue across the country. That rainfall has also made field maintenance a huge issue for stadium groundskeepers and tournament organizers.

Tournament director Martin Kallen admitted that the pitch conditions “should be better,” although the increased number of matches and adverse weather conditions have caused maintenance issues.

Pitches are a major issue in modern stadiums because they are multi-functional arenas.

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.

Northern Ireland’s 2-0 win over Ukraine was briefly suspended as hail fell down in Lyon, while players have struggled to gain footing on a sloppy pitch at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

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The conditions in Marseille have come under the most criticism, as the host nation France played there in the group stage, while the stadium will also host a quarterfinal and semifinal match later in the tournament.

UEFA cancelled training sessions planned at the Stade Velodrome on Friday, forcing Iceland and Hungary to practice elsewhere. If the problems continue, officials may have to completely replace the Velodrome pitch, something organizers were forced to do after bad rains in Basel in 2008.