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English youth teams denied chance to play at Camp Nou due to French Rugby Final

Rohith Nair
2.77K   //    18 Jun 2016, 15:08 IST
Camp Nou pitch French Rugby Final
The Camp Nou will host the French Top 14 final on 24 June

A number of players from youth teams in England’s North West have been left disappointed after their chance to play at Barcelona’s iconic Camp Nou was taken away from them due to the French Rugby Final. The youth teams were taking part in the Europa Cup conducted by Precision Pass and were all set to play at Europe’s largest football stadium (with a capacity close to 100,000) when they were informed that the pitch was not in an ideal condition to host matches.

According to Liverpool Echo, each of the team’s players had paid as much as £1,375 to compete in the tournament. That fee excluded the cost of flights and hotel bookings. They received a letter stating that they would be playing at the stadium of Barcelona B instead – the Mini Estadi which seats a little over 15,000 people. The details were mentioned in a letter sent by the company handling the event.

“It is with sincere regret that we have been informed by FC Barcelona that we cannot proceed with the tournament inside the Camp Nou today.

“On 24th June (in 7 days) the LNR Rugby Final will take place inside the Camp Nou and the head groundsman has informed us that the “grass is not good enough” and that it is mandatory to cancel all events due to take place before the Rugby Final in order for it to recover.

“We were informed of the final decision at 2pm yesterday (16th June) and have given every effort to proceed with the event. Ultimately the decision rests with FC Barcelona.”

Kids waited over a year to play at the Camp Nou

The French Rugby final is usually held at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis. But since Euro 2016 is in full swing, the final was shifted to Barcelona. However, to make it up to them, the teams were allowed to take photos on the Camp Nou pitch and also allowed to visit the Barcelona dressing rooms after the tournament. 

Manager of Netherley side Wood Lane Stephen Fowler spoke of how heartbreaking it was for the kids who had been waiting for almost a year to play on the Camp Nou pitch.

"When you have a bunch of six, seven or eight-year-old kids trying to tell them they can’t do something, it’s heartbreaking," Fowler explained. "They don’t get it. They’ve been building up for it for like a year.

“The pretence of paying £1375 was that you were actually going to be playing on it. There are kids from areas in Liverpool, like Netherley, who have forgone family holidays for this. And it was for the experience that they were going to get.”

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