The 2018 FIFA World Cup™ final in Russia will be played on a grass pitch installed by world-leading British firm SIS Pitches, it has been announced this week.
The prestigious contract for the historic Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow was awarded this week by the World Cup organisers and is a second coup for the SIS Pitches negotiating team; its Eastern European division having already won the bid to install the Spartak Moscow pitch, which will host one of the World Cup semi-finals.
SIS Division Managing Director, Ilyas Kobal – part of the SIS Pitches group, which also makes synthetic grass at its factory in Maryport, Cumbria, UK – said:
It’s fantastic news. It will be a natural grass pitch. It’s our first World Cup final pitch and obviously it is a very important contract.
It was a long tender process but in the end our advantages meant even the local companies could not match us.
SIS Pitches was chosen ahead of strong competition from Russian and other international firms, having previously demonstrated its pedigree at the Luzhniki Stadium, under difficult conditions.
We also did the Champions League pitch for the historic all-English 2008 Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea, which was also at the Luzhniki.
At that time there was a synthetic pitch at the Luzhniki, like at many stadiums in Russia. But for the CL final it had to be played on grass, so we re-laid the pitch with grass just for one game.
SIS was chosen at the very last minute and it was a race against time. In the end we had to go outside Russia for the right kind of grass and it involved bringing 22 refrigerated trucks of turf from Slovakia.
I think it went a long way to helping us win the World Cup final. They could also see we have also laid pitches at Spartak Moscow and FC Krasnodar.
Work is already underway to transform the Luzhniki Stadium and is following recent trends in upgrading infrastructure at historic stadiums, while preserving the familiar features that are cemented in fan folklore.
Building work on the stadium will last 12 months, while SIS Pitches designs the complex pitch sub surface structure ready for installation commencing next summer.
Due to the brutal Russian winter, it will involve a system of undersoil aeration, drainage, irrigation and even heating to allow the pitch to be used all year. A custom-designed, reinforced fibre-sand rootzone will be laid and then seeded to be ready by May 2017 in time for the Confederations Cup.
The stadium will then close for a year until the World Cup, where it will also be used in the opening match, featuring the host nation.
It’s not a teardown and will hold onto the historic parts which are really beautiful. They are taking out the old Olympic track and rebuilding the stands so the spectators are close to the pitch, which will increase the atmosphere for games.”
After the World Cup, SIS Pitches Eastern European will then strip out the grass pitch and install one of its custom synthetic surfaces, capable of withstanding the winter. The stadium will then become ‘home’ to the Russian national team.
The company has also signed two year deal to maintain the pitch.
About SIS Group
SIS Group produces more than 500,000sqm of pristine artificial grass annually; custom-designed for an array of sports, schools, public spaces and also residential gardens. Much of it is a product of the SIS tufting shopfloor at its base in Maryport, Cumbria, which has provided critical jobs in a cash-strapped region for years. SIS pitches have been installed at more than 120 stadiums across the world, from Russia to Dubai.
For further information, go to: sispitches.com