As Gareth Southgate’s men make final preparations for England’s World Cup campaign, the quality and standard of the pitches they will perform on may prove vital.
Six of the 12 World Cup stadiums are home to high tech hybrid pitches that are the most advanced on the planet – and replicate the surface at the squad’s national training facility, St George’s Park.
Global pitch specialists, SIS Pitches, designed, constructed and installed the very latest turf technology at St George’s Park in 2015 and is also behind the pitches at six World Cup venues – the Samara Arena, Kaliningrad Stadium, Saransk Stadium, Rostov Stadium, Spartak Stadium and the iconic Luzhniki Stadium.
All feature the sophisticated SISGrass hybrid surface, which combines 95% natural grass with 5% synthetic turf and is installed with patented injection technology and laser guidance for accuracy. The SISGrass system offers longer playing hours and faster recovery time after each game.
Beneath the Luzhniki, Rostov and Spartak stadiums ‘SISAir’ technology has been installed too. It is an aeration system developed by SIS Pitches, which manages soil moisture and promotes healthier turf by providing optimum conditions for root growth, in any climate.
In total, 30 of 32 World Cup nations will play on the high tech surfaces in the tournament’s group stages alone. If England’s lionhearts top their group, they will play two knockout games on SISGrass and SISAir technology. If they claim runner up position, all of their knockout games will be on SIS Pitches’ hybrid surfaces.
George Mullan, CEO & Founder of SIS Pitches, said: “The importance of having World Cup pitches that are durable and high quality cannot be underestimated. It’s crucial that the playing surfaces are truly world-class and our teams have been working hard to get the pitches in the best possible condition.
“Six of the World Cup stadiums now feature the most innovative and advanced sporting turfs in the industry, and it will definitely be an advantage for the England squad to have performed on the same surface at St George’s.”
SIS Pitches has transferred maintenance for five of the stadiums to the care of the venue’s own management teams, following inspections by independent agency the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI), which confirmed the quality of the pitches met international quality standards.
Luzhniki Stadium, the home of the opening ceremony and highly-anticipated World Cup Final, will continue to have its surface maintained by a six-strong team from SIS Pitches, led by former FA head groundsman Alan Ferguson. It will be the first time a World Cup Final has ever been played on anything but all-natural grass.
George added: “We’re proud to be continuing to work at the Luzhniki Stadium to ensure its pitch is the same high standard and quality from the opening ceremony on 14 June, right up until the final whistle crowns the World Cup winners on 15 July.”
To listen to an interview with George Mullen, please click [here] Please note this clip requires Flash and will not work on a mobile device.
For more information on SIS Pitches, please click [here]