Poor Field Conditions, Lack Of Playable Fields Causing Problems For Moscow Teams
In a season when top Russian teams have come under fire for racist and violent behavior by their fans, "another more consistent problem has dogged the schedule of Moscow’s top clubs: a severe lack of playable fields and overuse of the remaining pitches," according to Roth & Reevell of the N.Y. TIMES. Heavy rains in September compounded the difficulties caused by the closure of Luzhniki Stadium, "a colossal facility in southwest Moscow that evicted both Spartak and CSKA this year to begin renovations for the 2018 World Cup." What has resulted "is a string of site switches and makeshift accommodations." But the most troubling aspect for visitors "is the inherent risk involved in having top-level, highly-paid talent slogging it out in the mud." When Man City visited Khimki for a Champions League game on Oct. 23, City Manager Manuel Pellegrini "focused on the threadbare field." He complained that it was "unbelievable that the world's most important cup competition is allowed to be played on this pitch." It has been "an inauspicious start to Russia's preparations for the World Cup," which will be played in 11 cities across the country in '18 (N.Y. TIMES, 11/25).