Swiss to replace Euro 2008 pitch
Swiss import Dutch grass to re-turf a waterlogged St Jakob Park surface in Basel.
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2008 12:21 GMT

The St Jakob Park pitch has seen plenty of rain and plenty of action in the group stage [GALLO/GETTY]

Euro 2008 organisers are confident that a new pitch being laid at Basel's St Jakob Park will be ready in time to stage Thursday's quarter-final between Portugal and the Group B runners-up, after heavy rain had damaged the original turf.
A torrential downpour during last Wednesday's Group A match between Turkey and co-hosts Switzerland, and further rain during the Swiss match against Portugal on Sunday night, left the pitch badly damaged, prompting the unusual decision by Uefa.
Marco van Basten, Netherlands coach, whose side will meet either Sweden or Russia in the second quarter-final in Basel on Saturday, told reporters that he was surprised by the decision to replace the pitch.

"They seem to be replacing pitches quite easily these days, but look at what happened in the Champions League final when they put in a new pitch just before the game and the players were sliding on it," Van Basten said.

"It bothered players of the best two teams in Europe. This is just not good for football."

"They seem to be replacing pitches quite easily these days, but look at what happened in the Champions League final... "

Marco van Basten,
Netherlands coach
A Uefa spokeswoman said this was the first time a whole pitch needed replacing during a European Championship or World Cup tournament, although sections of pitches had been re-laid in the past.

"The rainfall seen during the downpour last Wednesday amounted to an hourly rate of about 180 litres of water per square-metre of pitch, whereas the draining system can absorb only about 100 litres of water an hour," the spokeswoman said.

"The pitch was removed overnight on Sunday and 26 lorries are now bringing a new pitch from the Netherlands."

The St Jakob Park pitch, which is due to stage two quarter-finals and a semi-final, was also replaced at the end of April and was available for use two days later, however, Uefa has made contingency plans in case it is not ready, the spokeswomen added.

The new pitch will cost $307,200.

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