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Does Closing the Roof of a Stadium Suck the Life Out of a Contest?

Does Closing the Roof of a Stadium Suck the Life Out of a Contest?

England's group game against Denmark at the Frankfurt Arena lacked the end-to-end chances we've come to expect from fixtures at EURO 2024. Instead, it was a stagnant tie that failed to generate much excitement as the score ended 1-1.

While most of the blame for this lethargic display will be laid at Gareth Southgate's door, questions should also be asked about the closed roof at the Frankfurt Arena and whether it contributed towards a game lacking genuine quality.

Small Changes Make Big Differences

You might be tempted to immediately ask if a closed roof makes any difference. After all, the pitch and goals stay the same size. While it's a valid question, it highlights a deeper truth that extends beyond football: small changes can have a significant impact on the overall experience.

For instance, consider the experience of driving a car with air conditioning versus one without. Or think about using a touchscreen laptop versus one with a traditional keyboard and mouse. Similarly, think of the difference between playing at an online casino on an app versus a browser, a contrast that casinoalpha points out.

Of course, while these are varying examples, the wider point is that even seemingly small changes can lead to vastly different levels of enjoyment.

The Problems With a Closed Roof

In the example of a closed roof over a football pitch, the biggest difference would be heat - specifically the humidity felt by the players inside the ground.

On top of the poor ventilation that comes with closing the roof, you also have to factor in 60,000 people shouting and singing for 90 minutes, which creates a humid environment.

Playing in such muggy conditions will bring on fatigue far quicker than usual. Essentially, tired players will battle to reach their normal performance levels and the game will suffer as a result.

Additionally, changes in humidity and air pressure can affect the way the ball behaves. Typically, a humid environment can lead to the ball becoming drastically heavier and moving markedly slower. This was the case at Wimbledon's Centre Court after a roof installation in 2009, with the ball flight becoming noticeably slower owing to a change in size.

How this translates into football terms is that the passing and shooting are often haphazard as players struggle to adjust to controlling a lead-like ball.

Finally, higher humidity also leads to a damp turf, which is likely to become slippery and break up. This was the case during England's clash with Denmark, as players from both sides lost their footing throughout the game. Being unable to gain any proper traction is the quickest way to spoil the game's quality, as players battle to stay upright.

Hot and Heavy

Gareth Southgate's era as England manager might soon be over, with the Three Lions in need of a breath of fresh air. However, Southgate wasn't helped by playing in a stuffy stadium with a closed roof, which frequently sucks the life out of any contest, whether it be football or tennis.




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