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World Cup 2018 to use British turf

SIS Pitches wins contract to supply natural turf for World Cup

Posted by Stephanie Broad | January 22, 2016 | Supplier News

SIS Pitches, supplier of natural turf to schools across the country, will provide the floodlit green stage for the 2018 World Cup in Moscow.

The grass will be impregnated with more than 150 miles of plastic, an innovation known as SISGRASS. The natural turf system offers a safer, softer surface that protects players from injury, with up to five times the playing time of natural grass.

“The ball hasn’t been leather for a long time and now the grass isn’t quite what it seems, but it actually improves the game,” said SIS CEO George Mullan.

“It’s the first time a World Cup final has been played on anything but all-natural grass and it’s like a dream for us as a company and a community. We have come so far to get this system to the pinnacle of world sport.”

The patented system was created after SIS Pitches approached Dutch engineers to design a ‘giant sewing machine on tracks’. This machine methodically crawls across a pitch implanting, or ‘stitching’, laser guided precision rows of more than 240 million lengths of two-tone green synthetic yarn 180mm deep into the sub-surface.

The yarn projects in tufts 20mm above the surface. After grass seed is sown on top, the growing roots naturally seek out and anchor onto the sub-surface yarn, building a reinforced turf that not even professional football or rugby players can easily damage.

“It strengthens the structure of the natural grass, making it stronger and more resistant to damage which means more games can be played on a pitch,” says Mullan. “It also drains more effectively. For a busy tournament like the World Cup it is perfect.”

Work has already begun to transform the Luzhniki. Building work on the stadium will last 12 months, while SIS Pitches designs the complex pitch subsurface structure ready for the SISGRASS installation. Due to the harsh Russian winter, it will involve a system of undersoil aeration, drainage, irrigation and even heating to allow the pitch to be used all year.

Ireland's Paul O'Connell on SISGRASS

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. The stadium will then become home to the Russian national team.

The company has also signed a two-year deal to maintain the pitch.

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