Grass Warfare: FC Zurich’s Battle Over Poor Pitch Conditions
FC Zurich Expresses Dissatisfaction Over Letzigrund Stadium Pitch
The FC Zurich (FCZ) soccer team has recently voiced its dissatisfaction with the deteriorating condition of the grass at the Letzigrund Stadium. The team’s concerns have reached a point where they are questioning whether their upcoming city derby might need to be postponed. Such concerns have led the 2022 Swiss champions to criticize the city of Zurich, which operates the stadium.
The Deteriorating Grass: A Result of Overuse?
Participants of the recent Super League game between Grasshopper Club and FC St.Gallen described the field’s condition as poor, likening the damage to the grass to the aftermath of a swarm of locusts. The reason for the deterioration of the grass is multifaceted, with one of the significant contributing factors being the stadium’s usage for concerts over the summer. Performances by renowned artists like Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay, along with events like the Energy Air festival, resulted in tens of thousands of people trampling the pitch, thereby exacerbating its condition.
Disputes Over the Causes of the Poor Grass Condition
FC Zurich has rejected the argument put forth by stadium manager Peter Landolt, who attributed the poor condition of the grass to the summer’s extreme weather. Landolt had stated that the repeated cycles of wet weather followed by heat prevented the grass from developing deep roots. FC Zurich, however, remains firm in its stance that the damage to the grass is primarily due to the sheer volume of people walking on it during the summer events.
Additional Matches Exacerbate the Damage
Adding to the stress of the grass, just two days before the GC – St.Gallen match, the FC Lugano vs Bodö/Glimt game in the Conference League took place at the stadium amidst heavy rain. UEFA had prohibited FC Lugano from playing at their home stadium, Cornaredo, leading them to seek refuge in Zurich. These back-to-back matches have resulted in much of the grass turning brown.
Concerns Over Upcoming City Derby
Given the current state of the pitch, FC Zurich has expressed doubts about whether the condition of the Letzigrund Stadium will allow for a regular soccer game. The Swiss Football League and the referees will need to make the final decision on whether the city derby can proceed. This situation underscores the importance of maintaining the quality of the pitch not only for the aesthetics of the game but also for the safety and performance of the players.
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