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Netherlands blast ‘amateurism’ of WWC organisation

Netherlands have accused the Women’s World Cup of amateurish organisation as they complained about their training conditions in New Zealand, but they are still using the Bay Oval in Tauranga to prepare for their opening game on Sunday.

Coach Andries Jonker told reporters he feared his players could be injured on the field, which has a hard cricket pitch in the middle, and which the Dutch had asked be taken out months ago.

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“When we arrived here on Wednesday, I thought, ‘now what is this now?’ I will not train on this,” he said of the test cricket venue in the Bay of Plenty area.

“We have raised concerns about the cricket pitch previously, we were promised things and now we are very disappointed and angry. We are not satisfied,” Jonker said.

“We want to play a good first match against Portugal here, we want to have a top preparation, a top tournament and we also consider ourselves a top team. This does not fit. This fits with amateurism of the highest order.”

The Dutch football association (KNVB) said they had expressed concerns to FIFA when they made two inspections visits in both October and February and were promised that the hard pitch would be removed after the cricket season and by the time the Dutch team arrived in New Zealand.

“If you fall on it with your knee or your shoulder, you could have a problem. If you sprint from the grass to that pitch, that is also not good for muscles and tendons that are already under tension,” Jonker said.

But the Dutch did train there and will continue to do so ahead of their opening Group E match against Portugal in Dunedin on Sunday. However, they have dispensed with plans for any full pitch practice.

“With other exercises we can train around that pitch, but 11 against 11 doesn’t work,” the coach added.

“There were two other options. We could go to Dunedin earlier, but then you have to rearrange hotels, flights and everyone is on the wrong track.

“There was also the suggestion we go to Hamilton. That’s an hour and a half drive. That sounds easy, but then you are on the road from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for one training session,” Jonker said.

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