It wasn’t a storm, it wasn’t a downpour. It was regular rainfall that proved enough to paralyze one of Europe’s most modern stadiums. A series of wrong decisions or misinformation led to Poland-England qualifier being postponed.
The World Cup qualifying game against England was scheduled for yesterday (20:45 local time in Warsaw), yet was played today in the afternoon. Cause of the change was rain which started falling several hours before the match.
At 20:00 the FIFA delegate decided to close Stadion Narodowy’s retractable roof in an attempt to save the game. Ground’s operator confirmed, however, that the mechanism cannot be launched in such a bad weather. This isn’t new information as most structures like that one have their limitations and should always be used prior to weather changes, based on forecasts.
As it turned out, neither the Polish FA (PZPN), nor the FIFA delegate decided to close the structure beforehand as the rainfall hasn’t been seen as a threat. Why did it become one, then?
The new stadium only had its new temporary pitch installed last week in a new operating model. Initially the ground was to have a regular permanent field, then modular one was suggested, later switched to artificial one just to change once again to temporary pitch.
This means the grass laid just last week was to be used only for two games and then transported out of the ground. This is why the ground basis was four times thinner than regular one and drainage layer even ten times thinner. So water falling for several hours was staying on the grass instead of being transported down from the surface.
Who is to blame? Prime minister Donald Tusk ordered an internal inquiry in Ministry of Sports and National Sports Centre. As he explained, findings should be known early next week and those guilty will not avoid responsibility.
Also PZPN announced they will seek compensations for the game being postponed, as well as for the manipulations by National Sports Centre who claimed PZPN were the ones to blame for paralysis of the national stadium.