British company SIS Pitches has won a contract to produce the pitch for the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, meaning the FIFA World Cup Final will be played on a mixture of a natural and artificial grass surface for the first time in its history.
SIS Pitches claim that FIFA and Russian 2018 were attracted to the company by their SISGRASS, reinforced natural turf system, which they promise will offer a safe, soft surface to protect players from injuries.
The pitch will be constructed with 150 miles of specially developed synthetic yarn and has been touted as lasting three times longer than normal grass pitches.
“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 George Mullan, SIS chief executive.
“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.”
“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.
“It also drains more effectively, for a busy tournament like the World Cup it is perfect.”
The grass system was created after SIS Pitches approached Dutch engineers to create a machine to stitch more than 240 million lengths of green synthetic yarn into the sub-surface of the pitch, which provides a reinforced surface after the grass seed is sown.
Major European football clubs such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Juventus are among the companies clients, while the English Football Association had a pitch installed at their St George's Park facility.
SIS Pitches state the installation of the surface at the Luzhniki Stadium will involve a system of undersoil aeration, drainage, irrigation and even heating to allow the pitch to be used all year, to combat Russia’s tough winter months.
The pitch is expected to be ready for May 2017 in time for the Confederations Cup, before the Stadium hosts Russia’s opening match, a semi-final and the final of the 2018 World Cup.
The venue, currently being upgraded to a 81,000-seater arena, will become the home of the Russian national team following the tournament, with SIS Pitches having been given a two-year contract to maintain the surface.