Breaking: France-Ukraine Suspended Because of Lightning, Waterlogged Pitch
Just four minutes into play on Friday at Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine, Ukraine vs. France has been suspended by referee Björn Kuipers because of weather concerns.
According to ESPN Soccernet's GameCast, "The rain only started about five minutes before kick off—before that it was very humid apparently. There are problems with the television pictures too."
The pitch is becoming waterlogged as well, and fans have left their seats for the safety of the covered stadium underbelly.
According to the Regulations of the UEFA European Football Championship (2010-2012), Article 5, compensation may be exacted by a visiting team during qualifying if weather conditions force a match to be suspended. Per the rules:
The third-party liability policy must include an appropriate guaranteed sum for damage/injury for all occurrences (not excluding bad weather, force majeure and terrorism) to persons, objects, property, and for pure financial economic losses, and it must correspond to the specific circumstances of the associations concerned.
Those same stipulations carry over to a final tournament, with host associations expected to provide "adequate insurance cover (including cancellation)" for all the aforementioned risks.
ESPN reported on air that should the match be postponed, it must be played on Saturday at the latest, lest the schedule of the competition be thrown off. That would give both France and Ukraine only two full days to recover before their final group stage match next Tuesday, while England and Sweden—playing the other Group D match today—would have three.
Associated Press reporter Graham Dunbar tweeted that according to UEFA rule 10.08, "If the referee decides to abandon the match, for example because the field is unfit for play, the remaining match time must be played the next day, unless the case is referred to the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body."
Update: The inclement weather is expected to pass in the next five minutes, but the match is not expected to resume until 8 p.m. local time at the earliest. Kuipers has the final say over whether the match resumes and will inspect the pitch during the hour before rendering his judgment.
Update: This match has since resumed.
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