While the nation celebrates the fact that Iceland has, for the first time, made it to the World Cup playoffs, a strange problem has presented itself: the need for a suitable soccer field.
“We are currently gathering information which will help us figure out how to handle the matter,” Laugardalsvöllur stadium’s director Jóhann G. Kristinsson told vísir.is.
In order to be able to host a game of such importance in November, he has his work cut out for him.The field is not heated and the only thing that the Iceland Football Association has to protect it is a tarp, which is not likely to do much good should it begin to freeze as is usual at this time of year.
“Fastening the tarp properly is quite difficult. It only fits these little pins. Therefore it could easily fly away into the adjacent Laugardalslaug swimming pool. Many ideas have come up and we are looking into all of them. Even if something has successfully been done in one country does not mean that it can be done in Iceland.”
Although mostly keeping mum regarding the solutions they are looking into, he divulged that one of them involves placing an inflatable tent over the stadium, which might keep it warm. Such a tent can for example be found in the South Iceland town of Hveragerði.
“These inflatable tents can be ordered from abroad but we still don’t know whether it would be the right solution for us. A lot of time and effort would go into assembling and dismantling it,” Jóhann explained, adding that fastening it would be problematic as concrete can’t be used as it is in Hveragerði.
“Should we see a real Icelandic storm, the tent might just as well fly off to the Faroe Islands,” he joked.
According to Jóhann, covering the field with the tarp will be the first measure. Jóhann emphasized that he wasn’t losing sleep over the situation.“This is just a challenge and we have got a great team working on the matter.”
As reported yesterday, Iceland’s vital game, which will be against Ukraine, Portugal, Greece or Croatia, will take place in mid-November. This will be the first time that a soccer game will take place at the stadium at that time of the year.
Only once before has a soccer game been played on the field in November, but not that late in the month. That was a game in the European Champions League between Fram and Rapid Wien, which took place on November 6, 1985, with the stadium frozen and covered in snow.
Fram won the game 2-1.