Hi-tech hybrid World Cup pitch given FIFA approval

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A new hi-tech hybrid playing surface, which will be used at this year’s World Cup soccer tournament in Russia, has just been given FIFA’s official seal of approval following its installation at the brand-new US$330m Rostov Stadium.

The 45,000-seat stadium will host five World Cup matches on the new, technologically advanced SISGrass pitch that combines 95% natural grass with 5% synthetic turf and is laid upon an aeration system that provides optimum conditions for root growth.

The technology is said to offer greater durability and more playing hours, and help prevent a poor playing surface becoming an issue during the intense schedule of the tournament. A FIFA official expert conducted testing during a recent soccer match to prove the new pitch satisfies the high standards required.

Designed, built and installed by pitch specialists SIS Pitches, the UK-based company will have its pitches featured in six of the 12 World Cup venues, including the 80,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium, where the World Cup final will be played for the first time on a surface that wasn’t entirely natural grass.

Rostov Stadium pitch

Rostov Stadium pitch

“With less than six weeks to go, a vital part of World Cup preparations is ensuring that, like the players, the pitches are truly world-class,” said George Mullin, CEO and founder of SIS Pitches.

“Our crew has been working hard to get the ground into the very best condition. Rostov now has the most technologically-advanced playing surface in the world. Our SISGrass system has delivered a pitch that is durable and will perform well. It’s over to the stadium team now to maintain that standard and quality until the final whistle.

“As football fans around the world count down to the start of the tournament, the pitch handover is another step closer to the action, and we can’t wait for the matches to begin.”

It took eight days to install the surface and used 48,000km of yarn to stitch the synthetic fibers together – an amount that is enough to stretch around the world.

May 9, 2018

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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