The League of Nations match between Austria and France on Friday (8:45 p.m.) in Vienna was maintained by UEFA at the Ernst-Happel stadium, whose lawn was damaged, the Austrian federation announced on Wednesday June 8. . “UEFA have given their approval for Friday’s game”, in accordance with the recommendations of an independent expert report, said the federation, two days after the appearance of a gaping hole in the middle of the field at the end of the Austria-Denmark match. The situation had led the Austrian authorities to carefully examine the turf and call a meeting on Wednesday.
An independent expert report had “recommend[ed] clearly that the match [should] take place as planned”, Austrian Federation director general Bernhard Neuhold told AFP on Wednesday evening, shortly before the final validation. of UEFA. “The last training sessions of the two teams will also take place tomorrow, Thursday, as planned at the Ernst-Happel stadium”, specifies the Austrian federation.
TV footage of this pitch defect has gone viral on social media: after the final Austria-Denmark (1-2) whistle, the Danish players showed, in front of the camera, that they could sink their legs at least 30 centimeters into the ground. “I don’t know what’s going on with this amateur stadium,” Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg said after the match, comments reported by the press. The Austrian authorities have mandated in recent hours a meticulous analysis of the lawn, X-rays, using a special machine.
The explanation for the formation of such a hole lies “probably in a significant increase in the level of groundwater in the nearby Danube, caused by the heavy rains observed overnight from Sunday to Monday”, said a spokeswoman for the city. Federation. “The waters exerted upward pressure on the lawn, which caused a cavity to form, resulting in a hole. »
The federation also announced that 1,000 square meters of turf would be provided by stadium services “in the event that the top layer of turf needs to be changed quickly” if new holes are detected. “The lower layer was, in turn, densified” using a roller machine, she also adds.
On Monday evening, Austria also faced a major power outage in its stadium, delaying kick-off by an hour and a half. “The outage affected nearby neighborhoods in Vienna and was caused by faulty power lines. The technicians assure that the heavy rains on Sunday caused this problem, “said the Austrian federation to AFP. Rain is still forecast for Vienna for Thursday and Friday. Home of the Euro 2008 final, the Ernst-Happel Stadium will be sold out for the reception of the French world champions, with up to 44,800 spectators expected during this meeting counting for the 3rd day of the League of Nations .