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UEFA official: Pitches at some Euro 2016 venues should be better

The pitches at some Euro 2016 venues have not been good enough, UEFA tournament director Martin Kallen said on Friday. Kallen, who said heavy recent rain had caused problems, added that grounds that stage non-match events, including the Stade de France in Paris, have longer-standing issues with the quality of their turf.

“The pitches should be better, sure,” he said at a briefing on UEFA’s tournament operations. “We have problems and we do our utmost.”

In Marseille, France coach Didier Deschamps blamed the state of the surface at the Stade Velodrome on a rock concert after his team laboured to beat Albania 2-0 on Wednesday.

“It’s a disaster, but that’s not surprising,” he said. “If you have an AC/DC concert a month before the European Championship — they’re changing the pitch, re-laying the turf.”

Kallen said the new pitch had been laid on May 16 and 17 after UEFA took over the stadium for the tournament.

European football’s governing body has exclusive control of all 10 Euro 2016 stadiums for the month-long tournament.

“It was a difficult time the last three, four weeks because of rain,” Kallen explained. “Because of the weather, the grass could not take enough root.”

A new roof at the renovated stadium also deprives the surface of sun and drying winds.

“There is not enough sun — that is why the pitch is always suffering,” Kallen added.

“The new stadiums have not got enough light and wind, so you see a lot of lamps and wind machines to compensate for what nature brought in automatically.”

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