A gaping hole in the stadium lawn in Vienna, the pitch x-rayed before the match

The TV images are impressive: after the final whistle of Austria-Denmark (1-2), Monday evening, the Danish players railed with the organizers in the face of a huge hole observed in the central circle, sinking their legs at least 30 cm in the ground. “I don’t know what’s going on with this amateur stadium,” said Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Höjbjerg after the match, in remarks reported by the press.

Challenged by this situation, the Austrian federation has been active since Tuesday to repair the defects of its lawn, before Austria-France on Friday (8:45 p.m.). “The ground is being examined with X-rays with a special device to see if other cavities can appear,” a spokeswoman for the Federation told AFP. “The analysis must be completed this Wednesday evening”, while a “meeting between UEFA, the federation and the stadium services” was scheduled for this Wednesday at 6.30 p.m., supposed to provide “more details” on the situation.

heavy rain

The explanation of the formation of such a hole “is currently the subject of expertise, but it is likely that there was a significant increase in the level of groundwater in the nearby Danube, caused by the heavy rains observed overnight from Sunday to Monday. 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 m2 of grass will be provided by stadium services, “in the event that the top layer of grass must be changed quickly” if new holes are detected. “The lower layer has been densified” using a roller machine, she also adds. On Tuesday, the president of the federation, Bernhard Neuhold, told the local press that he could not, for the time being, “say that there is no other danger”. “There can always be scenarios that could lead to a cancellation of the match,” he added.

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