Due to some concerns over the condition of the pitch at the Bird’s Nest stadium, the International Champions Cup fixture between Manchester United and Manchester City has been cancelled.
Beijing is experiencing a high significant rainfall during recent days and major downpour late at night has resulted the pitch at the 80,000-capacity ground to be unplayable.
Jose Mourinho has said that the pitch is in a “very bad” condition and the situation has led up to the cancellation of the much anticipated match against Pep Guardiola’s City.
Due to the heavy rain Mouriho had also stated that: “I think Beijing is very unlucky because the pitch is very bad.”
City has also made a statement on Monday morning: “Due to the recent weather events, tournament organizers and participating clubs have made the decision to cancel off tonight’s International Champions Cup fixture to be played in Beijing tonight, 25 July.
“Further details and statements will follow.”
In the beginning, the statement said that a news conference would be held up the stadium at 4.30 p.m. local time. However, that statement was removed shortly afterward.
The field is infected with fungus. Even though the affected areas were dug up, heavy rain in Beijing has washed away the replacement turf.
Both managers are concerned that their players could pick up injuries as the pitch would be a dangerous playing surface for both sides. As a result of that, both teams were forced to switch their prematch training sessions to the nearby Olympic Sports Centre in order to protect the pitch.
The staff on the ground have been working day and night to ensure the safety of the pitch and City even did send over their groundsman Craig Knight to help out the situation.
The match would have been the first Manchester derby to be played abroad. Both sides will next meet on September 10 in the Premier League at Old Trafford.
On July 30, United would be scheduled to play against Galatasaray while City will have to face Borussia Dortmund who beat the Red Devils 4-1 last week on July 28.
Spokesperson of the tournament Patrick Murphy said: “As the leading pre-season tournament globally, International Champions Cup is committed to deliver safe and professional match conditions for the world’s best footballers, this in turn will delivers great entertainment for the fans. The dangerous weather leading up to the match in Beijing has damaged the National Stadium playing surface to a degree where it leaves the pitch in un-playable condition.
“We have collectively made this cancellation decision in the interest of the player safety and concerns over the players’ subsequent ability to put on a display for the fans that meets the quality standard of the International Champions Cup.
“We thank all parties who contributed to the planned staging of this match, in particular the tens of thousands of fans who committed to purchasing tickets. An appropriate refund policy will be put in place by our local partners for those fans.”
Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward from United side said: “It’s extremely disappointing not to be able to play the game in this amazing stadium but the recent torrential rain would have caused problems anywhere in the world and has left the pitch unplayable.
“We understood that the fans in China will, like the players and staff, be saddened by the cancellation of the match but I am sure that they will also appreciate the safety of the players has to be the top priority. I am confident that we will return to the Bird’s Nest in the future to give them the chance to see the team in action.”
The chief executive of City side, Ferran Soriano said that: “We are disappointed not being able to play for our supporters here in Beijing. All of the players have been working really hard in training to prepare for an exciting derby.
“We are aware that everyone was looking forward to the game, but we understand that this bad weather is beyond anyone’s control, the extreme rain has made it dangerous to play on this pitch. It has been a pleasure and honor to experience such warm welcome from the people and supporters here in Beijing, and we will remain committed to playing here in the future.”
Due to the cancellation, the International Champions Cup will no longer have a tournament winner in China
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