Nations League: Hole in the grass keeps ÖFB busy

The League of Nations

In addition to the blackout, which delayed the match by 90 minutes, Austria’s Nations League match against Denmark (1:2) left a deep hole in the Ernst Abel stadium. On Tuesday, the Austrian Football Association, in cooperation with the stadium management, attempted to make running again safe. Al Ittihad was confident the problems would be resolved with the home match on Friday (8.45 pm, live on ORF1) against world champions France.

Danish striker Andreas Skov Olsen discovered the hole in the center of the circle after the final whistle. Television footage showed how half of his leg had disappeared. The reason may be that as a result of the storm at night from Sunday to Monday, the groundwater level rose significantly due to the nearby Danube. Bernhard Nijhold, ÖFB’s general manager, explained to reporters that water pressured the playing surface from below. As a result, a clear cavity was formed that ended in this hole.

In response, the stadium management checked the stadium on Tuesday with a German turf specialist. According to Nuhhold, other potential cavities should be detected “with a special instrument similar to X-rays.” We cannot say if there is any other danger here. What we can say is that we try everything preemptively. “According to the director of the ÖFB, the analysis should be completed by Wednesday.

A hole in the grass keeps ÖFB occupied

In addition to a power outage, which delayed kick-off by 90 minutes, Austria’s international match against Denmark (1:2) at night from Monday to Tuesday caused a stir at the Ernst Happel Stadium. The European Football Association (ÖFB) indicated that heavy rain at night from Sunday to Monday in Vienna was the likely cause.

Additional grass available

According to Nuhold, 1,000 square meters of additional lawn should ensure that the top layer can be replaced quickly if further breakage occurs. The pit itself was also formed. In addition, the subsoil is additionally compacted by a roller, Nijhold said. “This can cause visual impairments on the lawn.” However, the player’s health is above all else.

A meeting and video call with UEFA is scheduled for Wednesday evening to brief all participating organizations ahead of the France match. Thursday and Friday should be used to create the best possible conditions for the game, with the least possible residual risk. “But there can always be scenarios that lead to rejection,” Neuhold said.

Power outages were also analyzed

A good example of this is the power outage on Monday evening. If the flood lights had not been turned on, the Nations League match with Denmark would have been postponed until Tuesday noon, according to Nohhold. The reasons for this failure were also analyzed on Tuesday – especially since according to ÖFB information the stadium already has an emergency power generator which should be enough to power the floodlights. But this did not work out as hoped.

It was never dark on the field. Some circuits continued to operate. According to Nuhold, one explanation was that the stadium was fed by different energy sources. However, sound technical expertise is required here as well. “We have to take the time to gather the facts.” The risk of another failure must be underestimated – especially since in contrast to the 18,700 spectators against Denmark on Friday in full Praterovall more than 48,000 are expected.

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