Football club told to straighten up pitch after 30 years

The view of the pitch from Google Maps
The view of the pitch from Google Maps

A club in football-mad Argentina has been playing for nearly 30 years on a crooked field.

Players at Liniers club, in the country's fifth division, have learned to make the best of the pitch, even though one half is shorter than the other and from above it looks more like a trapezoid than a rectangle.

But the Argentine Football Association recently gave the club, which has called the field home since 1987, a December 15 deadline to fix the field or risk its permanent closure.

Liniers president Marcelo Gomez said that officials realised that the field was crooked after they saw aerial images on Google Maps.

The pitch from Google Maps

"The field always worked without a problem," Mr Gomez said. "We knew that it's something we needed to fix one day, but this order just came all of a sudden."

Former Liniers player Silvio Fuentes said he grew fond of the field and even scored Olympic goals thanks to its shortcomings.

"After training, I'd always stay kicking corner kicks. I scored nine Olympic goals in my whole career - and five of them were here with Liniers," said Fuentes, who played with Carlos Tevez in the lower divisions of Boca Juniors.

Experts say that the out-of-proportion goal line might not help the outfield players but it does distract the goalkeeper.

"Our field was always the one with the crooked goals," Liniers forward Maxi Castano told local La Nacion newspaper.

"No-one got mad about it. The rival teams would just joke with us, but everyone knew the field was a bit abnormal."