May 24, 2013
Polish FA hits back at Spain pitch complaints
Polish FA chief Grzegorz Lato has played down Spain's complaints about the pitch after Sunday's 1-1 draw with Italy at Euro 2012, denying the grass was too long and saying the Italians refused to let it be watered.
Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta and coach Vicente del Bosque complained that the pitch was too dry, spoiling the Group C game at the PGE Arena in Gdansk for both sides and the fans.
Polish media also reported that organisers judged after the match that the grass was too long and ordered for it to be cut.
"What nonsense! The grass was the perfect length," Lato, winner of the Golden Boot as top scorer at the 1974 World Cup, told Polish radio station TOK FM on Monday.
"The thing is that often one waters the pitch for the game. But you need agreement from the two teams. The Spanish wanted it to be watered, the Italians did not agree," he added.
Lato said the Italians had clearly wanted a slower pitch to make it easier to block Spain's intricate passing game.
"They know that the pitch being slower - because on a watered pitch the ball slides a lot and will move a lot faster - is the better tactical option for Italy," Lato said.
"If there isn't agreement (from both sides), it doesn't make any difference that at Barcelona and Real Madrid they water the pitch two hours before the game."
UEFA said in a statement that there had been a clear intention to water the pitch as much as possible "to correspond the demand of the Spaniards, but certainly only up to the point before the additional watering could cause a damage to the pitch."
The governing body said this was why watering was stopped earlier than 75 minutes before kickoff on "the advice of the greenkeeper".
"The same procedure is used for all matches in the tournament with a view to find a balance between protecting the pitch and meeting demands of the participating teams," UEFA said.