« To see my land in this state, it honestly makes me sick« , the words are strong but Philippe George, president of the Moncé-en Belin club cannot hide his frustration. « I’ve been at the club for twenty years, I’ve never seen the lawn in this state« . Renowned as one of the most beautiful pitches in Sarthe, the turf of the Moncé football club is unrecognizable. »The opposing teams tell us that it’s a real billiard table, there, it’s a burnt field“, concedes François Coffé, assistant coach of the first team.
Everything that has been done to preserve the land becomes useless. »
Grilled on 3/4 of its surface, the ground is impassable today. Yet the president of the club has done everything to best preserve the state of his lawn against the heat. Last purchase to date: two new sprinklers worth 4000 euros, except that for two weeks the club has been banned from watering, we must therefore start from 0. A real disappointment for the president of the club Philippe George. » We realize that everything we did this summer to preserve it is becoming useless. During the month of June and the month of July, I got up at four in the morning to manage the watering of the lawns. It was also necessary to fill the holes, to put back the grass. It’s really disheartening« .
We take no pleasure in the field
As far as training is concerned, you have to adapt. Little play with the ball, muscle strengthening and running off the field. Which is anything but motivating for players like Cyprien, midfielder at the Moncé-en-Belin club: » We take no pleasure. In the game everything is more complicated, the controls, the passes, the sequences, we cannot put anything in place« .
50% of Sarthe clubs are prohibited from watering the pitches
A situation that is not isolated, since according to the president of the district of Sarthe, 50% of Sarthe clubs are prohibited from watering their grounds during the drought alert. « It is worrying because the resumption of the championships is coming soon and we know that with dry pitches, the quality of training is not going to be at the expected level and some clubs will not be able to welcome their opponent.
Synthetics, the only solution to deal with the heat
For the Sarthe district, we will therefore have to adapt by investing in synthetic pitches. Land that does not need to be watered, and which requires much less maintenance, according to Frédéric Davy, president of the district of Sarthe. « For 5-a-side football pitches, the French Football Federation offers 30,000 euros in aid, which is not negligible« .
For the moment in Sarthe, only the clubs of Auvers-le-Hamon, Brulon, Pruillé-le-Chétif, Poillé-sur-Vègre, and Le Mans FC are equipped with synthetic pitches.