The grass of the Vicente Sanz municipal stadium has been a headache for the Don Benito City Council for months. His condition already forced Don Benito’s preseason to be altered this past summer and now threatens the UEFA Men’s Under-19 Elite round that was going to be held jointly with Villanueva de la Serena as the second venue. As Diario HOY has learned, that appointment is up in the air and pending the final decision of UEFA, which during its visit last week did not give its approval to the municipal grass of Dombenita.
Specifically, the claims of the European sports institution implied a total replacement of the grass for the matches scheduled for March 22 to 28. A proposal that would not be accepted by the Badajoz City Council, among other reasons, so as not to harm Don Benito in the complicated moment it is going through, with salvation in the Second RFEF at stake and with several vital matches still to be played in its stadium in the coming weeks.
However, the City Council affirms that work has been carried out for weeks to improve the condition of the grass; among them, the replanting of a large part of the playing field. Likewise, weed treatment has been carried out which caused several dry areas to be evident on both sides of the field this past Sunday. Although the City Council trusts that this work will bear fruit, despite the cold, before these European matches, UEFA’s decision could already be made.
However, the Sports Department is already working on a project to replace not only the grass, but also the entire irrigation system. But it will be at the end of the season, and not this month as UEFA requires, when this action will be carried out. However, although the RFEF has not yet made a statement, the City Council considers the change of location to be a given, with Francisco de la Hera, in Almendralejo, being a probable option.
Yes, in principle the Villanovense municipal stadium would remain as the venue, which will host two Spanish matches in this round. Although here there are also some requirements to meet such as the replacement of some specific sod in the areas.
It should be remembered that the Elite round is the competition that determines which seven teams accompany the host in the final phase of the European Championship. The matches will be played from March 22 to 28 with the participation of the U-19 national teams of Spain, Ukraine, Denmark and Luxembourg, all of them members of Group 3. The winners of the seven mini-groups formed for this elite round will join to Malta, as host, in the final phase that will be held from July 3 to 16.