A pitch specially developed in Qatar, and tested by STRI Group subsidiary Aspire Sports Turf, has been laid in record time at Khalifa International Stadium, the first proposed host venue for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In the space of just 13 and a half hours, the surface measuring around 7,800 square metres was moved from the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) Turf Nursery and laid down inside the historic venue by a team of 40 specialists on site.
Up to eight specialised machines were used by the 40 people moving the grass and laying it down in the proposed host venue for matches up to the quarter-finals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.
The turf was planted at the Turf Nursery and took nine months to reach the optimum 14mm in length, before it was harvested and transferred to the 7,848 square metre Khalifa International Stadium pitch.
The Turf Nursery is located within Aspire Zone in Doha and comprises three hectares of land where 12 different species of grass are being tested. The facilities were specially constructed by AZF and the SC and include an irrigation trial area and an on-site lab to analyse samples, with testing being conducted in collaboration with Aspire Sports Turf, part of the STRI Group. In six years, the grass grown at the facility will inform the choice of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ football pitches.
The Director General of Aspire Logistics, Abdullah Nasser Al Naimi, spoke with sc.qa about how the achievement reflected AZF’s continued efforts to promote sporting performance in Qatar and drive innovation: “This achievement should be attributed to the state of Qatar, not only AZF and the SC. It’s further evidence of AZF’s world-class expertise and demonstrates the innovative human and technological capabilities that we have developed across the organisation, and which are helping position Qatar at the forefront of the global sporting industry.”
Meanwhile, Youssif Al Musleh, Competition Venues Deputy Executive Director at the SC added: “We would like to congratulate our partners at Aspire Zone Foundation in laying the pitch for Khalifa International Stadium in the record time of 13 and a half hours. Khalifa International Stadium is a historic venue in the eyes of the local community and region, and the fan and player experience in 2022 will ensure that it becomes a memorable venue for the world when Qatar hosts the 2022 FIFA World Cup.”
The record improved the previous best set by the team when returfing Al Sadd Sports Club’s stadium in 2016 in just 14 hours and 40 minutes.