Football: Government drought restrictions provoke AS Monaco pitch controversy

monaco drought restrictions

Due to government-imposed water restrictions, brought in on the eve of AS Monaco’s game against Lille, the Louis II pitch wasn’t watered on Sunday, much to the frustration of players and managers alike. 

“I don’t know why the pitch wasn’t watered,” bemoaned Lille manager Paulo Fonseca post-match. The Portuguese manager can certainly be forgiven for his ignorance of the latest edict from the Monaco government, which as of last Saturday, prevents the watering of green spaces between 8am and 8pm.

“The playing conditions weren’t good.”

On a slow, unwatered pitch, there was little spectacle in the match between Monaco and Lille, which ended as a scoreless draw. Both teams are known for their free-flowing attacking fluidity, but that wasn’t on show in front of Prince Albert II, Niko Hulkenberg and Ricardo Carvalho, who were all in attendance. The dry pitch ironically dampened the match, as did a tactical shift by Monaco manager Philippe Clement to shore up his defence. With the five-point gap to Lille maintained, this was a result that will suit Les Monégasques much more than Les Dogues. 

However, that didn’t prevent Clement from also complaining about the playing conditions.

“I was as surprised as the opposition coach to find out that the pitch hadn’t been watered. We couldn’t water it, unfortunately. There is a big water supply problem in the region at the moment,” said the Belgian coach.

Just one game to go at the Louis II

“The playing conditions weren’t good,” added Fonseca, who will perhaps see the scoreless draw as a missed opportunity to cut the gap. “All season, we’ve played on great pitches. It’s impossible to play quickly on a pitch like that. The LFP should look at its own rules again if they want a spectacle. In such conditions, it is easier for the defending team,” he added.

“The pitch conditions didn’t help us,” said former Manchester United player Angel Gomes in the post-match mixed zone. “It’s very hot and humid here, and the grass is long so we had to adapt to that,” he added.

Minister of State Pierre Dartout has warned that the government will elevate the drought level if the situation worsens. Further measures could provide further disruption, with just one Ligue 1 match to go at the Stade Louis II this season, which will be against Toulouse on 3rd June.


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Photo by Zakarie Faibis