THE FIRST all-England UEFA Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea will be played on a Moscow pitch installed by a British company.
This historic match (on May 21) at the Luzhniki Stadium will take place on a natural grass pitch constructed by Support In Sport (SIS), the company with offices in Cumbria, Ireland and Holland.
It is the fourth time SIS have installed a UEFA Champions League Final pitch.
Chief Executive Officer George Mullan says: “We were delighted to be called in and won the contract after a tender process involving companies from Holland, Germany and Austria.”
Originally there was a synthetic pitch in the stadium for the England-Russia game in December 2007 but this was overlaid with a grass pitch grown on a palletised system.
This surface was not considered suitable for the Champions League Final and was removed, leaving the pallets in place.
“After we were called in we laser-levelled the sand surface over the pallets before bringing in 8,000 square metres of turf grown in Slovakia,” said George.
A fleet of 28 refrigerated trucks took seven days to transport the turf 1,800 kilometres (1,120 miles) from Slovakia to Moscow.
In Moscow a team of 10 SIS crew installed the turf over two days - the same crew who installed the Champions League Final pitches at Amsterdam (1999), Hampden Park (2002) and Schalke04 (2003)
SIS were called in by Russian company Sportmechanics, who had installed the 6,800 pallets of the ITM system in Luzhniki Stadium.
“The operation went very smoothly,” said George Mullan. “The surface was levelled using box grade lasers to deliver levels that will allow both teams to play a passing game.
“After two days working on the pitch we handed it back to Sportmechanics and their head groundsman Matt Frost.”
The Russian football authorities say they are delighted with the resulting surface and UEFA officials report that the pitch meets all their requirements for top-level football.
SIS has designed and constructed sports surfaces throughout Europe and for some of Europe’s leading clubs, including Real Madrid, Manchester United, Glasgow Celtic, Ajax and Benfica.
Sports surfaces by SIS include natural grass and synthetic turf (which the company manufactures in Cumbria) and the company is also the official distributor of Team Sports products in Europe, including FIFA-approved products.
Natural turf is grown by SIS specifically to order for individual pitches and sports stadiums on farms in the UK, Portugal and Germany.
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PICTURE: Installation of the pitch at Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow. (More pics available on request)
RELEASE DATE: May 8th, 2008
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