The pitch at one of England’s World Cup training venues has been infected with ‘pink snow mould’, SunSport has revealed.
As these images show, white bald patches have appeared at the training ground where Gareth Southgate’s boys will prepare for their clash with Panama on Sunday June 24.
The infected pitch is at the Meschera facility — a venue due to be used by the designated ‘home team’ for the six matches in the city of Nizhny Novgorod.
The pitch has been infected by ‘fusarium patch’, which is nicknamed ‘pink snow mould’ by gardeners and has a history of damaging golf greens over the winter break.
Argentina’s stars will prepare for their clash with Croatia at Meschera, three days before the Three Lions arrive. Sweden and Switzerland are also using the base.
The FA sent a team of pitch experts to assess the group stage matchday training venues at the start of last month, as England chiefs seek to cover every angle in preparing for the tournament.
No official concerns have been raised by the FA. But the pictures are embarrassing for Fifa and the Russian organisers, who are responsible for providing local training pitches for teams to use on the eve of matches and on matchdays.
By the time the infection was noticed by organisers in early May, it was too late to replace the grass.
One source told a local newspaper: “It remains only to water the lawn and wait for the grass to grow.”
The disease can spread at temperatures up to 20 degrees centigrade.
The average temperature in Nizhny Novgorod in June is 17.2C, meaning the Three Lions will need to work around the ‘bald patches’.
England’s main training base is at Repino near St. Petersburg, which was specially selected by the FA.
SunSport has also learnt that England will be hosting a pre- tournament public session there.
Fifa requirements mean that all 32 teams are expected to host at least one ‘open’ workout.
The FA will be carefully selecting who gets a pass to watch the session, with local schools and sports teams expected to be at the front of the queue.