Thursday 20 October 2016

Storm fears could force Italy match indoors

Jacques Lambert. Photo: Handout/UEFA via Getty Images
Jacques Lambert. Photo: Handout/UEFA via Getty Images

Ireland's players may face a pitch battle against Italy in Lille for the final group game of Euro 2016 with concerns over the weather and the surface at the 50,000 capacity stadium.

UEFA officials revealed at a pre-tournament press conference in Paris last night that three of the stadiums for Euro 2016 have already had the pitches dug up and replaced - and one of those is the Stade Pierre Mauroy, where Ireland face the Italians on June 22.

Officials said last night they are not concerned about the possibility of having to play games behind closed doors due to safety fears - but Jacques Lambert, head of the tournament's organising committee, said that Lille, which has been battered by storms this week, is a concern and they have prepared contingency plans to play match behind closed doors, or even in a different venue.

"Yes, we might have to seek recourse of organising a match behind closed doors, not necessarily due to security. As an example - the weather. We've had some awful weather over the last week. Once again, serious storms, yesterday in Lille and Lyon," he said.

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