British firm to build 2017 World Cup final pitch in Russia

The World Cup final in Russia 2017 will be played on a grass pitch installed by British firm SIS Pitches.

Luzhniki Stadium. Image: Supplied
Luzhniki Stadium. Image: Supplied

The contract for the historic Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow was awarded this week by the World Cup organisers.

"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," said SIS division managing director Ilyas Kobal.

"It was a long tender process but in the end our advantages meant even the local companies could not match us."

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.

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. SIS has also signed two year deal to maintain the pitch.

The job is a second coup for the SIS Pitches negotiating team. Its Eastern European division has already won the bid to install the Spartak Moscow pitch, which will host one of the World Cup semi-finals.

SIS Pitches had previously demonstrated its pedigree at the Luzhniki Stadium, creating the pitch for the 2008 Champions League final. Like many Russian stadiums the Luzhniki had a synthetic pitch, but grass was required for the Champions League final so the pitch was relaid with grass for one game.

SIS was a last-minute choice for the work, and could not find the right type of grass in Russia so had to bring in 22 refrigerated trucks of turf from Slovakia.

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