Madonna leaves damaged pitch for Bulgaria-Montengro match
Sofia - Bulgaria's coach lashed out Thursday, two days ahead of a crunch World Cup qualifier against Montenegro, over the condition of the pitch at the match venue, the Vasil Levski stadium.
The grass has been badly damaged by tens of thousands of fans at the pop-queen Madonna's concert and cannot be recovered despite an intense watering and fertilizing programme, officials said.
"It smells of hay there. What can we expect of players, who cost millions and are used to perfect fields, when they play on that surface," coach Stanimir Stoilov told the Darik radio.
Reporters visiting the stadium described the condition of the pitch as "tragic" and "shameful."
"It's time for some order in this country," he said, blasting the organizers for planning the huge concert and the match at the same venue. "If there is no (proper) field, they must say it."
Third in Group 8, behind Italy and Ireland, on eight points from six matches, Bulgaria is still hoping to qualify for the World Cup finals in South Africa.
The nine group winners qualify directly for the finals, while the eight best-placed runners-up qualify for the play-offs. (dpa)