Champions League

Fears raised over Champions League final pitch

2016-05-18 21:40
Champions League Logo (File)

Doha - A senior UEFA executive on Wednesday raised concerns about the quality of the Champions League final pitch just 10 days ahead of Europe's biggest club match of the season.

Keith Dalton, senior match operations manager with UEFA, said organisers face "a lot of challenges" in getting the surface ready at Milan's San Siro stadium for the game on May 28 between Spanish rivals Real and Atletico Madrid.

"We are facing a lot of challenges to get this pitch up to the level it needs to be for the Champions League final," Dalton said in a speech at the World Stadium Congress conference being held in Doha.

"The grounds keeper, with all due respect to him, is very junior and he is the only one with the technical expertise operating that stadium.

"The rest of the guys can just hold a fork."

Afterwards, Dalton, whose speech outlined UEFA's requirements for Champions League matches and also European Championship games, added that he was sure the pitch would be ready but UEFA wanted it to be perfect for the final.

Later Wednesday, Giorgio Marchetti, the UEFA director of competitions, shrugged off the fears.

"The organisation of the final in Milan is on very good track. We have absolutely no reservations about the state of the pitch which will be excellent," he said in Zurich.

"The quotes attributed to a UEFA senior manager were completely taken out of context."

The Champions League final is the high point of the European club season, arguably the most high-profile annual football game in the world and is expected to draw in a crowd of some 300 million television viewers.

Previous concerns about a pitch prior to a Champions League final included worries surrounding the 2008 final in Moscow between English sides Manchester United and Chelsea, which was played on a new grass surface laid on top of an artificial playing area.

However, there were no repercussions after the final which United won on penalties.

The game later this month between the two Spanish clubs is the fourth Champions League or European Cup final to be held at the 80,000-capacity San Siro.

The last final to be played at the famous Italian venue was between Bayern Munich and Valencia, in 2001, which the German side won on penalties 5-4 after the sides played out a 1-1 draw.

The May 28 clash will be the second final between the two Madrid rivals.

They met previously in 2014 when Real Madrid won 4-1 after extra time to secure the club's record tenth title in the competition.

That was the first and -- so far -- only time two teams from the same city had contested a Champions League final.

The game will be Real's 14th final and Atletico's third.

Atletico are yet to win the trophy.

The Madrid sides finished second and third in this year's La Liga, with Real Madrid claiming the runners-up position behind Barcelona.

Read more on:    champions league  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 13 February 2018
Juventus v Tottenham Hotspur, Allianz Stadium 21:45
Basel v Manchester City, St. Jakob-Park 21:45
Wednesday, 14 February 2018
Porto v Liverpool, Estadio Do Dragao 21:45
Real Madrid v PSG, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tuesday, 20 February 2018
Bayern Munchen v Besiktas, Allianz-Arena 21:45
Chelsea v Barcelona, Stamford Bridge 21:45
Wednesday, 21 February 2018
Sevilla v Manchester United, Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:45
Tuesday, 06 March 2018
Liverpool v Porto, Anfield 21:45
PSG v Real Madrid, Parc des Princes 21:45
Wednesday, 07 March 2018
Manchester City v Basel, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Juventus, Wembley Stadium 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.