Soccer-Euro-Newly-laid Basel pitch ready for use, UEFA says

BASEL, June 18 (Reuters) - Euro 2008 organisers said on Wednesday the new Basel pitch had been laid successfully and would be ready for Portugal to train on later in the day ahead of Thursday’s quarter-final against Germany.

A torrential downpour at last Wednesday’s Group A match between co-hosts Switzerland and Turkey, and further rain during the Swiss match with Portugal on Sunday, left the pitch badly damaged, prompting the unusual decision by UEFA to relay it.

It was the first time a whole pitch needed replacing during a European Championship or World Cup tournament, although in the past sections of pitches had been relaid, according to UEFA.

“The laying of the turf was finished on Tuesday lunchtime and everything went according to plan,” UEFA spokeswoman Pascale Voegeli said.

Asked whether it had been risky to relay the pitch at such short notice, Voegeli said: “It will not be in bad condition. It’s not risky.”

The old pitch was removed overnight on Sunday and 26 trucks carried new turf from the Netherlands at a cost of 200,000 euros ($309,400). Basel is due to host two quarter-finals and a semi-final.

Germany decided not to train on the new pitch on Wednesday, instead remaining at their base in Tenero. (Editing by Ken Ferris)