Spain considering UEFA protest over Gdansk pitch
Spain was considering filing an official protest to UEFA over
the state of the pitch at Gdansk’s PGE Arena after Italy’s refusal
to consent to extra watering left it dry for their opening European
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque as well as players Andres
Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Cesc Fabregas all complained about the
turf following Sunday’s 1-1 Group C draw, which affected the
defending champions’ passing game.
”We need two teams to agree for the watering. There was no
consent from the Italians,” Polish football federation president
Grzegorz Lato said Monday, when Spain was expected to decide
whether to press ahead with its complaint.
Spain’s bid may come too late, however, as UEFA rules say any
protests lodged during the tournament ”must be presented in
writing … within a maximum of 12 hours of the end of the match.”
Otherwise, captain Iker Casillas would have had to make an official
protest in the presence of Italy captain Gianluigi Buffon during
Antonio Bustillo, head of communications at the Spanish football
federation, told The Associated Press on Monday that neither Del
Bosque nor any Spain players mentioned the pitch as being a problem
following Saturday’s training session on it. That followed heavy
rain on Thursday and Friday.
A number of players from both teams seemed to lose their footing
in the opening stages of the match.
”There was the clear intention to water the pitch as much as
possible, but certainly only up to the point before the additional
watering could cause damage to the pitch,” UEFA said in a
statement to the AP. ”This is why watering was stopped earlier
than 75 minutes before kickoff, further to the advice of the
greenkeeper (groundsman). The same procedure is used for all
matches in the tournament.”
Lato said Poland had a similar request to water the field
rejected by Greece before the opening match in Warsaw on
Spain plays Ireland in Gdansk on Thursday in their second group
match. Italy is up against Croatia, which is top of the group
following its 3-1 victory over the Irish.
AP Sports Writer Graham Dunbar contributed to this report from
Paul Logothetis can be reached at: www.twitter.com/PaulLogoAP;
Graham Dunbar is at: www.twitter.com/gdunbarap