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May 3, 2016
World Cup host Qatar aims for 'pitch perfect'

A view of the different types of grass being grown on a patch of land overlooking Aspire Zone in Doha. Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
by Qatar Olympic Committee
DOHA, May 3, 2016 - Football World Cup host Qatar is aiming to prepare top-notch stadium and training pitch grass, details have shown.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup host is currently busy building new stadiums or renovating existing facilities.

On an equally important note, Qatar is also looking at growing and using quality grass for its venues and World Cup-related training pitches.

On a patch of land overlooking Aspire Zone in Doha, three hectares of perfectly conditioned grass is being given a final trim by a mowing machine.

In six years, the grass grown at the state of the art Research and Development Centre set up by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and Aspire Zone Foundation, will inform the choice of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ football pitches.

Facilities on site have been specially constructed by Aspire Zone Foundation and the SC and include an irrigation trial area, with testing being conducted together with UK-based specialists Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI).

All work on site is conducted in compliance with the SC’s Workers’ Welfare Standards.

The facility will also have its own lab to analyse samples and, in the long-term grow the pitch for when Qatar welcomes the world’s best players in 2022.

“The best sports turf in the world is grown through good management, knowing what it need and getting the right nutrient testing done,” Yasser Al Mulla, SC Manager for Landscape & Sport Turf Management, said.

Al Mulla is testing approximately 12 different types of grass grown at the facility.

“Our objective here is to test different types of grass, root-zones and turf management techniques to develop the ideal pitch design and turf management programme which will be used at the 2022 FIFA World
Cup in Qatar," Al Mulla said.

"To get to the pitch design you need for a World Cup final, we will need to do a lot of research and development to confirm the optimal pitch which looks and plays the best at that time of year," he added.

"This is the first facility of its kind in the region and Asia. The knowledge gained from here will be of enormous benefit to those in Qatar and other parts of the world attempting to find the optimal pitch conditions for their stadiums.

"My understanding is that this sort of detailed testing so long before a tournament has not been done before, but the older the grass is the better it will play,” Al Mulla said in a statement released by SC.

“While a pitch would usually take months from seeding to being used, once it is at that stage we can lay down a new pitch in about 18 hours. The knowledge gained here will also help to inform pitches being grown across the country," he said.

“Our facility here also includes a root zone trial area, where various types of grass are being tested in different conditions including different types of shading. We’re looking to find the best type of grass and also testing to achieve this with reduced water consumption.

"We really think about the legacy of our projects and this facility will stay as a long-term legacy for the region which can be visited by anyone looking for the ideal pitch for their stadium," Al Mulla noted.
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