Teams prefer closed door training for Euro

May 30th, 2008 - 4:05 pm ICT by admin  

Hamburg, May 30 (DPA) World Cup champions Italy will hold an open training session hours after their Monday arrival for Euro 2008 and then close the door on the public and the media. Germany, by contrast, appear not ready at all to allow the fans a glance at Michael Ballack, Miroslav Klose and the others as they have no public training planned. The same applies to Poland.

Long gone are the days when fans and reporters were able to watch the stars train at home or at big events, according to the official Euro 2008 public training list released by UEFA.

Romania allow in the biggest number of fans as each of its sessions in St Gallen could attract a full stadium capacity of 21,000. The Czechs and Croatians, by contrast, will have no more than 500 fans watching their sessions.

Co-hosts Austria and Switzerland plan three public sessions each at the June 7-29 event, while France has confirmed four open sessions and Russia even five.

But they, along with Spain which for now plans a daily open session but also reserves the right to practice behind closed doors on short notice, are the exceptions.

“Most training sessions will be held behind closed doors, but 14 of the 16 teams are following UEFA’s recommendation by opening at least one training session to the public,” said the ruling body UEFA in a statement.

Teams are not obliged to train in front of the public, even though the closed sessions - on top of small tournament stadiums - will see even more fans deprived of seeing their idols.

With more money involved in the world’s most popular sport, and at the same time the margins between defeat and triumph becoming thinner, coaches and their staff are taking no chances and prepare their club teams and national sides behind closed doors.

There they can go into every possible tactical detail without being spied upon, be it attacking moves or free-kicks.

“We can’t simply open the door,” said Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff when the three-time European champion barred the fans last week in Majorca.

“Finally we can concentrate on our work with the players. Everything else is kept away from the players and the coaches.”

Greece coach Otto Rehhagel was also looking for full concentration when he announced training without fans and media after a 3-2 defeat against Hungary in a tune-up match last weekend.

After all, Italy’s players definitely lost concentration for a few moments last weekend when their first Euro-training at home saw two women run onto the pitch and take off their clothes down to bikinis. Rehhagel will surely also keep a close eye at the surroundings of the training ground, knowing from first-hand experience last year ahead of a Euro qualifier in Turkey.

Turkey held a closed session but coach Fatih Terim had seemingly forgotten that the Greek delegation was staying in a nearby hotel with some of their rooms overlooking the pitch.

Rehhagel, officials and players were reportedly seen watching the closed session in what the Fanatik sports daily named a “tactical scandal”.

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