Real Valladolid will face disciplinary action over the state of their pitch during their 1-0 loss to Barcelona, with Gerard Pique labelling the playing surface at the Estadio Jose Zorrilla a “disgrace.”
ESPN reported on Saturday evening that Barca had filed an official complaint, and on Sunday morning La Liga confirmed it would open an investigation.
“After the end of the match between Real Valladolid and FC Barcelona, on match day two of La Liga Santander, disciplinary proceedings were opened over the state of the Jose Zorilla pitch that did not meet the minimum conditions required by the competition,” the statement read.
There were signs during the warmup that it was going to cut-up and divots quickly opened up all over the pitch once the game kicked off.
“If [the league] want to sell the product outside of Spain and take games to the United States, they need to look at what is going on here first,” Pique said in an interview with Movistar after the game.
“[The pitch] was a disgrace. It wasn’t fit for playing football on and there was a risk of injury for the players. I hope that those in charge fix it because it’s shameful. It’s deplorable.”
Teammate Sergio Busquets added: “It’s lamentable that the best league in the world is played in these conditions.
“No one from La Liga felt they should come and check the grass. You can’t play on that. It’s more like a beach than a football pitch, but it was the same for both teams.”
El estado del césped del José Zorrilla no reunía las condiciones mínimas exigidas para una COMPETICIÓN como @LaLiga, evidentemente se procede a abrir el expediente disciplinario correspondiente para depurar las responsabilidades.
— Javier Tebas Medrano (@Tebasjavier) August 25, 2018
Tebas later posted on Twitter: “The state of the pitch at the Jose Zorrilla didn’t meet the minimum criteria required for a COMPETITION like La Liga, obviously disciplinary proceedings will be carried out to deal with those responsible.”
Valladolid president Carlos Suarez Sureda has already taken responsibility for the mess, saying the club will accept whatever punishment comes his way.
“We’re responsible for the state of the grass, it wasn’t good,” Sureda admitted in an interview with Cadena Ser. “If I am hit with a fine, it will be fair.”
Despite struggling to come to terms with the conditions, Barca managed to leave with three points thanks to Ousmane Dembele’s second-half goal.
Valladolid thought they’d stolen a point in stoppage-time but Keko Gontan’s header was ruled out for offisde after being sent to the Video Assistant Referee [VAR].
Ernesto Valverde’s side now have six points from their opening two games in the league this season as they look to defend the title they won last term.