FIFA has backed the decision to complete Sunday morning’s (AEDT) Club World Cup quarter-final between Western Sydney Wanderers FC and Cruz Azul despite the deplorable conditions in Rabat.
The Wanderers were left seething after they went down 3-1 to the Mexicans after some costly refereeing mistakes and the dismissals of Matthew Spiranovic and Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
Result: Western Sydney Wanderers FC 1 Cruz Azul 3 (after extra-time)
The woeful state of the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium pitch was also a huge concern after torrential rain made the surface close to unplayable.
A number of puddles formed on the pitch throughout the match, making passing difficult and dribbling close to impossible.
“Over the last months, international experts supported the groundskeepers and a special cover was installed to protect the pitch from rainfalls,” A FIFA spokesman said.
“Furthermore, no official training took place in the stadium which is normally possible for the teams before their first match in the stadium. With these measures, we reached a decent quality for the FIFA Club World Cup.
“Yesterday the conditions were difficult, but the referee decided that the pitch is playable and therefore the match went on.”
News of the comments won’t please the Wanderers, who were highly critical of the officiating and the shocking conditions they had to play in.
“That whole 90 minutes to me was disgusting, absolutely farcical what happened out there and totally unacceptable,” goal-keeper Ante Covic said post-match.
“The conditions were hard enough as it is and we’ve copped decisions ultimately that gave them the game.
“There’s no other way to talk about it. It was never going to be a pretty game in the conditions but to me it’s embarrassing.”
FIFA has decided to move Wednesday morning’s (AEDT) between Real Madrid and Cruz Azul to Marrakesh due to growing concerns over the state of the field in Rabat.
The Wanderers are also in Marrakesh ahead of their play-off for fifth spot with African champions ES Setif, who were upset 1-0 by part-timers Auckland City in their quarter-final.