Tough turf combination for arena

Synthetic turf fibres added to pitch at new Coventry arena

A new stadium and exhibition centre will try to wrench business away from other venues all over the UK. The Ricoh Arena in Coventry is in the final stages of construction. It will be the new home of Coventry City Football Club but managers also aim to attract events such as rugby matches, the world snooker championship, tennis tournaments, exhibitions and shows. It will compete directly with the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham to stage exhibitions. At the heart of the arena is the pitch, which was laid by Success in Sport (SIS). Before work began, it was a landfill site from which most of the rubbish had been removed. SIS had to carry out drainage, trenching and installation of geotextile layers, a liner and under-soil heating before the pitch was laid. The chosen pitch was XtraGrass from Holland, a product in which synthetic turf fibres are woven into a partially degradable backing. This creates a grid of holes through which the real grass roots can grow. The pitch will be 94 per cent real grass — Rigby Taylor RT14 — and six per cent synthetic. SIS chief executive George Mullan said his company had laid similar pitches in the UK and Holland and was following the progress of current trials of various combinations of artificial and real turf. IT giant Ricoh signed a £10 million sponsorship deal to secure the international naming rights.

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