'Complete disaster' as England game is abandoned is another blow for the international game

 

The National Stadium in Warsaw is an impressive sight, overlooking the river Wisla from the east shore and at night the red and white panels that adorn its sides are lit up in a random sequence, a tribute to a modern, capable Poland.

Last night it was the scene of an utter shambles and an embarrassment to that same modern Poland that had successfully co-hosted a European Championship with Ukraine this summer. The Polish crowd chanted "Thieves, thieves" in reference to the Polish Football Association (PZPN) and jeered when the Italian referee tried forlornly to test the ball out on the waterlogged surface.

Just imagine for a moment the utter scorn and fury that would be visited on the heads of the English Football Association if a similar saga took place at Wembley Stadium. Even Roy Hodgson, a man who is unfailingly polite in his dealings with foreign opposition, described the events of last night as a "complete disaster" for the PZPN.

It is unlikely that anyone will put their hands up and admit to being culpable but the suggestion that the roof was left open on the orders of the Poland coach, Waldemar Fornalik, on the basis that the bad conditions would suit his team does not reflect at all well on him or the Polish football authorities.

In Warsaw, the problems with the pitch have been longstanding at the stadium which was built for Euro 2012. There has been no permanent playing surface and it was re-laid before Friday's friendly against South Africa. The last major event at the stadium before then was a Coldplay concert in September. The depth of the playing surface is 30cm lower than it was in Euro 2012 which has caused problems with drainage.

As for the roof on the stadium, it has a steel frame that supports tarpaulin sections that are extended and retracted. It was still raining last night with the stadium authorities refusing to close it on the basis that they could invalidate the guarantee if they did so. There are other stadium roof designs that can be closed in a matter of minutes, in spite of the weather conditions.

There was a comic element to last night: the rain, the open roof and the man in charge of the roof who would simply not close it. But there was also a real sadness that a national football association cannot even stage a match, between two significant European football nations.

There will be many Premier League clubs furious that their players will now be returning to their clubs later than expected. The goodwill that international football increasingly needs to survive, especially in Europe where the clubs now call the shots, has been eroded a little more. What have England done in the last five days? Played a team of no-hopers at Wembley and been stuck in Poland a day late.

This kind of farce does no one any favours, least of all Uefa and Fifa. They cannot be held responsible for the man who controlled the roof but they will have to acknowledge that this has been a bad few days for international football.

Suggested Topics
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup