Euro 2016

Equipment suppliers left with red faces

Blerim Dzemaili(far left) and Granit Xhaka's shirts were among those torn during the game against France. The Swiss will be hoping for their kit manager to be better prepared when they play in the last 16.
Blerim Dzemaili (left) and Granit Xhaka's shirts were among those torn during the game against France. The Swiss will be hoping for their kit manager to be better prepared when they play in the last 16.PHOTOS: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

LILLE • There were no goals, but of note were four ripped shirts, one burst ball and a cut-up pitch.

The shortage of action in France and Switzerland's dull 0-0 draw prompted increased attention on deficient equipment, with the Swiss jerseys tearing easier than paper and the winger Xherdan Shaqiri telling Swiss tabloid Blick: "I hope Puma does not produce condoms."

Granit Xhaka, the new Arsenal midfielder, had to change his jersey twice during the Group A game, while Admir Mehmedi and the striker Breel Embolo also required replacements following tugs that did not appear especially vicious.

"We have had a few problems with the jersey," Embolo said. "The kit manager is not fully ready yet, but we are."

Goalkeeper and Man of the Match Yann Sommer, whose shirt was not torn, said the kit damage was more down to the game's nature. "It can happen. It means it was a fight on the pitch, with lots of duels. A jersey can fail. Of course today we had a lot. I can't say we have to change because Puma is great," he concluded.

NOT THE BEST BUSINESS IDEA

I hope Puma don't produce condoms.

XHERDAN SHAQIRI, Switzerland midfielder, on their kit manufacturer Puma, some of whose jerseys tore during the France-Switzerland match.

Puma yesterday blamed a manufacturing flaw for the torn jerseys. It said in a statement that its investigation found that "there was a faulty batch of material in which the yarn was damaged during production".

Match-ball manufacturer adidas was also left red-faced after one of its Beau Jeu balls burst when France's Antoine Griezmann was challenged by Valon Behrami.

One of Griezmann's studs appeared to put a hole in the ball. The balls retail at £105 (S$207).

Adidas said in a statement: "We are looking into what happened. Incidents of this nature are rare.

"The reason for the tear has not yet been identified but Beau Jeu has been widely praised by respected experts for its contribution to the exciting start to the tournament."

It was a night of shame for the ground staff too, as the cut-up pitch at the Stade Pierre Mauroy, which sent players sliding, had to be patched up at half-time.

The Lille pitch, beneath a retractable roof, still has to host an Italy-versus-Ireland clash tomorrow, a last-16 fixture and a quarter-final.

"It was annoying. We're only in the group stage and having a pitch in that state already is not a good thing," said France coach Didier Deschamps.

His Switzerland counterpart Vladimir Petkovic said the pitch affected the quality of the game.

"I really hope they're able to dry the pitch because it doesn't hold up well, but it was the same for both sides so we can't complain," he said.

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2016, with the headline 'Equipment suppliers left with red faces'. Print Edition | Subscribe