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FOOTBALL – End of the suspense: the League of Nations match between Austria and France, Friday (8:45 p.m.) in Vienna, was maintained by UEFA at the Ernst-Happel stadium, whose lawn was damaged, announced this Wednesday June 8 Austrian Federation.
“UEFA has given its approval for Friday’s meeting”, 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 last Monday.
The situation had led the Austrian authorities to carefully examine the turf and to convene a meeting for Wednesday.
An independent expert report had “recommended (e) clearly that the match (should) take place as planned”, told AFP the director general of the Austrian Federation, Bernhard Neuhold, this Wednesday evening, shortly before the validation final 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 images of this lawn defect have gone around social networks: after the final whistle of Austria-Denmark (1-2), the Danish players showed, facing the camera, that they could sink their legs at least 30 centimeters in the ground (see it in the video below).
“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 neighboring Danube, caused by the heavy rains observed overnight from Sunday to Monday”, said a spokeswoman for the Federation. “The waters exerted upward pressure on the lawn causing 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 has to be changed quickly” if new holes are detected. “The lower layer has been 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 neighboring districts of Vienna and was caused by faulty power lines. The technicians assure that the heavy rains on Sunday caused this problem,” the Austrian federation told AFP.
Rain is still forecast for Vienna for Thursday and Friday.
Stage of the Euro-2008 final, the Ernst-Happel Stadion 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 .
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