International players union FIFPro have added their criticisms to a growing list of concerns about the state of the pitch on which England will play Italy tomorrow night.
“The players deserve a quality surface” FIFPro asserted in a statement issued today. “This isn’t the case in Manaus.”
Concerns were also raised about the playing conditions in Manaus, due to the high levels of humidity in the Amazon rainforest area. FIFPro’s statement outlined that “heat and humidity can reach dangerous levels” in Manaus and that this will “put the players in harm’s way.” However, it has emerged that the poor state of the pitch is due to “excessive use of fertilizer” rather than the area’s climate.
The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) has since assured the British media that the pitch will provide an adequate playing surface, though the head groundsman at the Arena Amazonia admitted the pitch was in “bad shape.”
FIFA insist the problem is “largely cosmetic” and, accordingly, groundsmen at the Arena Amazonia have been spraying the grass with what appeared to be green paint. Whether these measures will be adequate remains to be seen, but players and officials of both teams remain largely unconcerned.
England striker Wayne Rooney commented that “It’s the same for ourselves and Italy, so we’ll have to deal with that.” While Demetrio Albertini, the head of the Italian team’s delegation, maintained that “We knew there was some burnt grass due to the heat, but the colour of the grass doesn’t really matter.”
The match is due to kick off tomorrow at 23:00 Irish time.