There was huge disappointment when it was confirmed this morning that the planned game between Manchester United and Manchester City in Beijing was cancelled.
There was a lot of interest in the first meeting between the two sides since both installed new managers - Pep Guardiola at City and Jose Mourinho at United.
But pictures shared by Times journalist Paul Hirst show that the decision was inevitable given the state of the pitch.
This is the pitch at the Bird's Nest. Can see why MUFC v MCFC was cancelled now. It's in a very poor state. pic.twitter.com/jywTSmnn8L— Paul Hirst (@hirstclass) July 25, 2016
Recent bad weather has left gaps in the grass, with as much bare brown earth visible as greenery.
It is tough on supporters who were looking forward to the game, but they can’t blame the clubs for not wanting to risk injury to their stars playing on a substandard pitch.
Of course, when the news was announced, pretty much everyone made the same joke.
No Manchester Derby has ever been cancelled due to rain... but when you move the game to China. That Alanis is Irony. #MUFC— David Scott (@arghkid) July 25, 2016
Oh the irony. Manchester clubs fly half way round the world for a derby match. Then gets called off due to rain ! https://t.co/u226foiFvc— Rob Windscheffel (@RWindscheffel) July 25, 2016