STRI’s World Cup team spent four years working on the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The LOC (Local Organising Committee) recognised that they required help and advice from an experienced sports turf consultancy, and STRI is the only consultancy organisation with sufficient resources to service the pitch needs of the entire tournament.
A total of 14 STRI consultants and six office support staff worked on the project during the period from 2015 to 2018. A dedicated STRI consultant was based at each stadium and training base, before and during the tournament.
Responsibilities prior to the World Cup
- Delivering two dedicated pitch preparation and management workshops
- Creating training manuals
- Carrying out 17 tours of the various venues
- Reviewing and contributing to design specifications for training and stadium pitches
- Six stadium pitch construction projects (Luzhniki, Rostov, Samara, Saransk, Kaliningrad), as well as design of the pitch at Spartak Stadium
- Carrying out laboratory analysis of pitch construction materials
- Carrying out specialist ‘Hemiview’ light/shade analyses of the stadiums
- Monitoring progress as the pitches were upgraded or built from scratch
During the tournament, the STRI teams based at each stadium ensured that pitches were prepared to the exacting standards required for a World Cup, working closely with the grounds staff, FIFA and venue management and the LOC Pitch Specialist. STRI carried out performance tests to assess consistency within a pitch, as well as between pitches.
Pitches across the 12 venues were presented to a very uniform standard.
All parties (STRI, the LOC and FIFA) worked extremely well as a team and the LOC were willing to engage, take on board and support the advice offered from STRI.
All stadium pitches met the requirements of this tournament without the need for any re-turfing, and pitch vacuum and ventilation systems proved their undisputed worth.
Fantastic feedback from the media and teams that the quality of pitches helped make Russia 2018 one of the best World Cups ever.
A feature of this World Cup was that the LOC purchased 12 sets of performance testing equipment, assembled by STRI, one for each venue. These kits have been left as a legacy item for Russian turfgrass management development.