The View from the North: Turf will stay for 2015

Duane Rollins August 1, 2013 95

The 2015 World Cup will be on turf, period. No Toronto, and no grass. (Photo copyright Meg Linehan for The Equalizer)

A member of the 2015 World Cup organizing committee says that there is no plans to install grass playing surfaces at the playing venues for Canada 2015.

For the first time in history, a FIFA senior World Cup will be played entirely on artificial surface. That decision has been widely criticized by many if the top women’s players in the World, including all-time leading goal scorer Abby Wambach.

Despite high profile opposition, the organizing committee is content with playing on turf.

“We’re very comfortable with the decision that was made to play all (games) on artificial turf,” chief marketing and communications officer Sandra Gage said during a sponsored teleconfrence.

“The reason (we are comfortable with the decision) being that it’s part of the principle of fair play.”

Gage said that playing all games and having all training sessions on the same surface was a requirement of FIFA’s to host the event. Thus the decision was made to actually remove one grass pitch, in Moncton, New Brunswick, to install an artificial surface.

Gage was asked to speak to the possibility of the women being forced to play on turf being an issue of gender discrimination. Several high profile men’s games have been held away from turf facilities, or have been played on temporary grass in those facilities.

Additionally, the Canadian men’s teams refused to play on artificial surfaces during their failed 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Despite being given the opportunity to speak to those concerns, Gage ignored the question in her response. Instead, she stressed that the choice to play on turf should not have come as a surprise to anyone paying close attention.

“We are in the position where we brought (artificial surfaces) forward to FIFA,” Gage said. “It was our recommendation and FIFA approved of it.”

Gage stressed that everything was contained in the original hosting bid by the CSA. Canada was unopposed by the time the hosting vote occurs. She said that FIFA was “comfortable with (the decision) as well.”

“Going forward we do not see changing (the decision),” she added

  • Here’s the unfortunate thing — if they put down shoddy grass on top of the turf, it could actually be worse. See Cowboys Stadium.

    • wosofan

      Not true. At Cowboys Stadium they put grass on top of concrete, not on top of the turf field.

      • Right – and that accounted for the bounce. But the installation itself also didn’t take. They had trouble at another Gold Cup venue as well, where the grass was laid on turf.

        So I suppose if you leave the turf down, it’s slightly softer.

        It certainly CAN be done — I don’t recall many complaints about the grass in the Silverdome at USA 94. But it’s not always that simple.

        • Steglitz49

          The grass in the Silverdoime in 1994 was grown outside on hexagonal pallets that were bolted together in the stadium to form the surface. Once the match was over the pallets were unbolted and taken outside and allowed to grow in sun.

          A variation on that system is where the whole field is rolled out into the car-park outside between matches. That is used in several big soccer stadia.

          • I know of that for a few German stadiums. And the Arizona Cardinals’ stadium.


          • Steglitz49

            Verily and false tooth. The Veltsin Arena opened in 2001 is the model of many of the modern arenas. The designers patented so many features that they never need to build another stadium, allegedly. However, rolling out the pitch might have been pioneered at the Amsterdam Arena a few years before.

  • Elaine

    Gage: “the reason (we are comfortable with the decision) being a part of the principle of fair play”, what a joke.

    Not fair play when this is the first time in history that a FIFA WC will be played on artificial surface and not fair play when the men themselves would never play on such turfs at a major senior competition.

    If FIFA approved such surfaces, does it mean they are all at the 2-star category for football turf? Or are we talking about those ghastly fields we see play in some of the games at NWSL?

    • kernel_thai

      The rating of the turf is an interesting argument. In the interest of fair play is the turf the same at all six facilities?

    • Lorehead

      No, you can search all the FIFA-certified artificial turf fields in the world here, and currently only BC Place is certified (at the two-star level). I hope the others will at least be brought up to that level.

      Of the NWSL venues, only Jeld-Wen field has that certification. Yurcak field has natural grass, the Maryland SoccerPlex won a turf managers’ award in 2011, and Starfire Stadium uses the same kind of turf the New England Revolution and Patriots play on. Trying to find out more about the turf at Sahlen’s Stadium, I found this:

      Latigue injured his right knee while training Monday on the Rhinos’ old turf at Sahlen’s Stadium. The turf has been cited by players several times this season as being in dangerous need of a replacement. If turf is properly managed and replaced regularly, it can provide a great playing surface. But when the surface is allowed to fall into disrepair, every game or training session is a gamble.

      So, yeah, most of the fields in the league are terrible.

      • Elaine

        Thanks for the turf fields information. Very helpful. By the way did you see the turf burns that Sidney Leroux got at Dilboy, I believe. Not only is the style of play different on turf vs grass (less sliding), the speed and bounce of the ball is also different (aka Shawnee Mission).

        • Lorehead

          There’s good turf and then there’s bad turf. There’s also American football turf and international football turf.

          • Elaine

            So many choices of turf….yet grass is just grass? (gold standard here)

          • Lorehead

            Actually, Oregon’s well-known for its grass seed, and growing and maintaining grass in a stadium is (as you know) harder than you’d think. Merritt Paulson’s comment on grass in Jeld-Wen is “never say never,” but we have lost out on WC qualifiers because of the turf, even though it’s turf as good as you can get..

          • Steglitz49

            Maybe you can help. As I have typed elsewhere, to sod a soccer field + surrounding strip apparently costs $75,000 to $90,000 (but also maybe as little as $50,000), including labor cost.

            At $30 per ticket, it is 2,500 to 3,000 spectators for the higher estimates and 1,700 for the lowest. Each field will host at least 3 games, so per game it represents between 600 to 1000 spectators.

            Do you have any idea of the costs involved?

          • Lorehead

            Not personally, no. I’ve been told the real problem was not laying the sod, but maintenance, especially when you also have American or Canadian football games tearing up the grass.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. During the actual tournament, the fields would only be used for ladies soccer, would they not? At least that was the case for Euro-13 and WC-11. At the Olympics some of the fields were used for both male and female matches, but only for soccer.

          • Lorehead

            I don’t recall what other matches will overlap the tournament, but both the Whitecaps and a Canadian football team play at BC Place, for example. Weren’t all the Olympic matches played on grass?

            Edit: Wikipedia, font of all knowledge, claims that Wembley Stadium has a mixture of natural grass and artificial fibers.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily. This is true. The old Wembley stadium had a fabulous pitch. Pia Sundhage scored the first ever woman’s goal there and a certain Carolina Morace scored four goals in one match. That hallowed pitch was the maximum width allowed and probably wider. It was a marvel.

            Grass does not grow so well in the new stadium. Worse, because the pitch is below ground level it cannot be rolled out into the car park to get sunlight, an embarrassing miss. After trying many and various grasses they settled on reinforced grass. Arsenal’s Emirates has the same. The old Arsenal pitch at Highbury was truly magnificent.

          • Sort of, unless the grass is torn up. At the rec level, of course, you can have “grass” fields that are basically a few tufts of green on a large patch of dirt.

            That wouldn’t happen at the pro level, but some of the MNT’s away qualifiers have been played on overgrown, bumpy fields.

      • Joshua

        Wasn’t the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in BC Place and played on artificial turf? UNWNT didn’t have any trouble routing the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica and Canada. I do not recall any protests or complaints voiced about the playing surface. I don’t recall any injuries At least no serious injuries.

        • Lorehead

          I’m afraid I don’t recall that, but one leg of the Gold Cup was played here on turf. Really, modern, approved, well-maintained turf shouldn’t be injuring players. It’s not AstroTurf.

    • Silver Frost

      “… the decision was made to actually remove one grass pitch, in Moncton, New Brunswick, to install an artificial surface.” My, such progress, replacing grass with plastic. LOL. Only in North America folks. But at least there will be a WC for women in 2015. What if Canada had not made a bid to FIFA? No WC, that’s what.

      • Elaine

        Wonder why England did not put a bid? They did so well in the Olympics.

        • Steglitz49

          Canada were the only bidders for WC-15. The only other bidder, which was an African country I seem to remember, withdrew.

          The image of ladies football has changed massively with Japan winning the world cup. Attendances at a number of matches and events have been much bigger since then. The attendance at Euro-13 reached 217,000 (much more than in 2009) and had been bigger if the bigger stadia had been used for some of the matches.

          Attendance at English domestic ladies matches is poor. Even the ladies FA cup attracts a comparatively small crowd and the CL final in London only 19,000 (up from 13,000 2 years ago) compared to 52,000 in Munich last year. Arsenal Ladies are lucky to get 500 for a match.

          • Elaine

            We are not talking about domestic leagues here. Like you indicated, attendance at the international level is massive, i.e. 80,000 at Wembley and 48,800 (at capacity) at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. Let’s not even forget TV viewership numbers around the world for those two finals. Any country would joyfully host and get these numbers and boost revenue and sponsors. These facts can only point to the conclusion that FIFA (perhaps in cahoots with the federations) wants this WC15 in Canada to be an “experiment” for top level competition to be played on artificial surfaces, and using the women (as Mr. Rollins indicated in his previous article) as “guinea pigs”. Canada was the only country to go along with what they what to do. Is it not?

          • Steglitz49

            Only Canada and Zimbabwe (!) submitted bids to stage WC-15 by the deadline in Dec-10. In March-11, Zimbabwe withdrew (much to many’s relief) so that at the time that a decision needed to be made, Canada was the only country. It could be argued that Canada rescued women’s soccer like USA did in 2003. Remember that in May 2011, only 13,000 showed up for the ladies CL final in London.

            Before the OG-12, the 74,000 at the WC-11 match between Canada and Germany in Berlin may have been the highest attendance. At the OG Sweden agreed to move the kick-off against Japan to suit Japanese TV.

            I think what we are seeing over grass in WC-15 is a Mexican stand-off. Canada is one of the world’s wealthiest countries and FIFA ain’t gonna subsidize grass there. Why can’t the Canadians not get that into their skulls?

            As someone remarks in this forum, though many pitches in Sweden are artificial, Euro-13 was played on grass. What is sauce for a country of 9m is sauce for a richer one of 33m.

          • Elaine

            So the bad timing of bids resulted in us watching the next WC on artificial surfaces. Fate? or just plain bad luck? Let’s all hope this WC won’t result in some career-ending injuries to players due to the turf or better yet prove that senior soccer competitions should be played on grass in the future for men and women.

          • Steglitz49

            Harjeet could write a piece on the bidding process for us. For Euro-13 it went something like this.
            Each country’s FA paid UEFA a $2m submission fee (to ward of frivolous bidders presumably). Each proposal included a budget. If the country came in below the budget, they got to keep the surplus but if they overspent UEFA would not bail them out. UEFA gets all the advertising revenue etc. When 1/2 the tickets were sold, UEFA paid a bonus to Sweden. Allegedly, Sweden will make a loss on staging Euro-13. Nevertheless, it is expected that Sweden will bid for WC-19.

            One assumes that FIFA were grateful to Canada offering to be the host of an event no-one else was interested in and that FIFA hoped that Canada would do the decent thing and play on natural grass even if their proposal stated artificial surfaces.

            Why Canada is being so bone-headed about this is beyond me. Can’t they see the PR-risk they are running?

          • Elaine

            Don’t know the answer to that question. Maybe a Canadian can.

          • Steglitz49

            They would not understand the question.

          • pakacuda

            I agree with Elaine. I don’t usually go for conspiracy theories but something doesn’t sound right. People keep saying “Canada saved the World Cup”, but I’m beginning to think that’s revisionist history in people’s minds to support something they want to believe, for which they have no actual evidence (happens a lot in sports). Yes Canada was the only bidder but lets look at some things.

            First: If Canada really saved the WC, it should have been a huge story within women’s soccer- I mean after a decade of success the WC was on the brink of disaster!? Or at least mention it? But when I google stories on it I see nothing on Canada “saving” anything or women’s soccer being in trouble. Just matter of fact stories on Canada being the only bidder (after Zimbabwe dropped out), that’s all. No big deal. No relief, no nothing.

            Second: WC 2007 and 2011 were plenty successful. Also looking in Wikipedia WC11 had 6 bidders, although some dropped out after they realized they had no chance. The 2008 Olympics were successful, and we know so was 2012. London. Why would the WC be in trouble? Makes no sense.

            Third: Yes women’s leagues were struggling, but that’s separate from the WC. Note that 80% of Olympic sports don’t exactly have thriving leagues but the Olympics is still fairly sought after.

            Conclusion: Something weird happened here, or information is missing. I would not be surprised if countries with natural grass were “persuaded” not to bid.

          • Lorehead

            In the counterfactual where Canada dropped out, I suspect that some other country would have stepped up at the last minute, but then FIFA and the athletes would have been in no position to ask for any conditions whatsoever, and whatever condition the pitches were in would be what we got.

          • Steglitz49

            Canada hung in to the bitter end in the bidding for WC-11 in spite of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, having encouraged the German Federation to go after WC-11. I suspect the Canadians got an unwritten offer of preferntial treatment for 2015, provided that they fell on their swords.

            We now have this mess. It clearly is not expensive to provide real grass. All sorts of solution exists that are tried and tested. Could the gorilla please announce itself, that is a good gorilla, isn’t it?

          • wosofan

            Was there an English club in the Women’s CL Final held in London this year???? No.

            So 19,000 at Stamford Bridge is pretty darn good. In Munich at the 2012 CL Final, there was a German side (Frankfurt), which made a difference. Plus, Germans support women’s football more than in England, so they’re more likely to attend. (The German WNT drew over 40,000 for friendly against Japan last month. They drew several thousand for a victory celebration two days ago). Plus, I think the weather was spectacular in Munich that day.

          • Steglitz49

            “Germans support women’s football more than in England”. >41,000 watched the Euro-13 final. Most were Swedes, yet Sweden did not get to the final. Instead they cheered for Norway.

            The English do not give two figs for women’s soccer. A couple of seasons ago Arsenal and Chelsea Ladies played at Emirates stadium. 5,000 showed up in a stadium that seats 60,000, so 19,000 being 50% more than 13,000 was an improvement for the CL final, was it not as I wrote?
            BUT! Hang on a minute. 10-12m live in London. Half are women and if half were fit enough to go to the match, you have a pool of 2.5-3m. That puts 19k in a 42k stadium or 5k in a 60k stadium into context. 42k is <2% of 2.5m.

            Two German teams played the men's CL final at Wembley. Are you going to tell me that 35k showed up? It was full, of course.

        • ROOTchino

          At the last WWC in Germany they set a budget of €51 million, even with sponsors they had to sell at least 80% of the 1 million tickets to break even. Even with giving tickets away to large groups and offering “city series” tickets where one ticket gets you into every match in your city. They still could only sell 700,000 tickets and that was a small sized country obsessed with Soccer. Canada is a behemoth mass of land dominated by Hockey.

          • Steglitz49

            Don’t you think that a lot of Americans would come north to watch?

          • Joshua

            That’s the idea. Also that the matches can be shown live in the USA.
            No different than the 2014 WC and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. .
            The US TV Market is KING!!!

          • Steglitz49

            Yet. Proportionally more watch women’s soccer on TV in Germany than in USA, not to speak of Sweden or Japan. Bayern Munich moved the kick-off of their men’s match against Barcelona so as not to overlap with Germany’s ladies SF in Euro-13!

          • Lorehead

            To put some numbers on that, about 15.4 million Germans watched their team play Canada in the 2011 Women’s World Cup, which is about a quarter of their audience. In comparison, 13.5 million Americans watched the final, and 17.9 million watched the 1999 final (with an estimated 40 million watching at least part of it). Viewership was much lower when their team was out of the competition.

            Interestingly, Baltimore had the highest proportional viewership in the U.S., with about 1 in 8 televisions in Baltimore tuned in. I note that the Spirit, who play in that area, are in the top half of the league in attendance despite their on-field problems.

            If the final is U.S.–Germany (or any other countries in the same time zones), your suggestion of starting at noon (Vancouver time) is a good one. If it’s U.S.–Japan, it should probably be in the evening. If it’s Germany–Japan, there’s just nothing to be done.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. If it were Japan-Germany in the final, the German DFB would accept a 9pm kick-off which would be 6 am (the next morning) in Germany which would work just about. Recorded highlights of “yesterday’s final that was played today” would not pass muster.

            In the last OG Sweden agreed to move the kick-off to noon to accommodate Japanese TV. There is precedent.

          • Lorehead

            You must be getting that backwards, since Japan is seven hours ahead of Germany. And the next morning is a Monday. At that point, you probably want to hold the match at Saturday evening, Vancouver time, when it’s Sunday morning in Germany and Sunday afternoon in Japan.

          • Steglitz49

            Something like that. Let’s hope it is less confusing for the organizers than to this bear of little brain. At least they have 2 years to figure it out. What happens were Iceland to play Australia in the final?

          • Lorehead

            Oh, that’s easy: Iceland has too small of a television audience to matter, so the organizers can ignore it. Perhaps schedule so that Scandinavia can watch and count on the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish audience to root for Iceland.

      • Steglitz49

        Verily. Excellent points, succinctly made.

        Canada offering to stage WC-15 was a critical move for women’s soccer. Just like USA saved women’s soccer in 2003, Canada saved it again. One wonders why the Canadians insist on playing on artificial surfaces? Is there an obvious reason that no-one will voice? What is the 800-lb gorilla in the stadium?

        • Joshua

          Qatar? WC 2022. It gets as hot as 122 degrees F in the summer months in Qatar when the WC is scheduled to be contested.
          WC 2022 will probably need to be an all indoor event. How does grass grow in an indoor stadium? How does grass grow in the desert when it gets to 122 degrees?
          Artificial turf has an advantage in extremely hot climates as well as extremely cold.
          Maybe FIFA is looking forward to the day when soccer will be played on Mars where grass can’t grow..

          • Steglitz49

            Your point is well taken. That may be the gorilla and it may be a European one to boot because it has been alleged that the selection of Qatar is the work of certain members of UEFA, not FIFA.

            Blatter has gotten cold feet. His suggestion is for a winter tournament (!). The Qataris have countered by contending that they will develop special cooling techniques and that most if not all the stadia will be dismantled and erected in poor countries as gifts.

            Watch this space.

        • Joshua

          One point I need to make an exception to; The USA did not save women’s soccer in 2003, they saved the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

          FIFA did not invent women’s soccer with the 1991 WWC. They just gave women’s soccer an new platform with the WWC. The sport was already in motion.

          The wikipedia article on the USWNT notes that the team was originally organized in 1985 and played its first match in something called the Mundialito tournament that was held annually in Italy. No mention of FIFA. The ball was already rolliing before FIFA got into the act with it’s WWC.

          • Steglitz49

            Are you an accountant by any chance?

          • Lorehead

            And Winston Churchill didn’t save the United Kingdom, because it was created by the Acts of Union? In a pedantic sense, women’s soccer would survive the cancellation of the Women’s World Cup. Indeed, it will survive for as long as any women play soccer. But that would have been a huge setback.

      • Joshua

        Wouldn’t know about that. The 1932 and 1984 Summer Olympics only had ONE bidder, Los Angeles. If Los Angeles hadn’t bid, no Olympics those years????

    • romel dias

      nice to bring up the principle as long as the idiots in charge aren’t playing themselves….Im sure they will be the first ones to crib and be fussy about the friggin office chairs they park their brains…err…bottoms on!

      • Steglitz49

        Why are they being so intransigent? It seems decidedly odd and fishy. What is the CSA’s beef?

  • Diane (DeeG)

    It’s up to the players now, women & men to band together. This will no doubt be used as an argument in the future for all world tournaments to be held on turf.

    • Yep, it’s all downhill from here. If the tournament is played well and there are few major injuries, this will be held as an example of it being acceptable for all to play on turf.

      The cost savings (over years) will lead to more men’s teams and men’s tournaments being played on turf as well. It’s frustrating.

      However, if the next men’s tournament rolls around after the WWC and the men refuse to play on turf and are then accommodated, everyone should scream about the clear discrimination.

      • kernel_thai

        FIFA escapes this because their will always be more bidders for WC than WWC. They will always have bids with all grass facilities to bail them out. Where I see the problem is by legitimizing turf for world cup play, they may actually encourage countries who would never consider turf to adopt it because they no longer feel it they need it to host a major tournament. Ironic.

        • Steglitz49

          I do not understand why Canada is digging in its heels over this issue. Canada is by some indices one of the world’s 15 wealthiest countries and by other yardsticks in the top 10, so they can afford grass without batting an eyelid.

          There is not just a dog buried here, it is a whole kennel. Money can’t be the explanation. What is the real issue?

          • bayern44

            It has nothing to do with how wealthy a nation is but everything about how capitalist or market economy works….in canada sports like football or hockey has bigger market than the beautiful game, in fact most of proposed stadia are for csl where buffed males bump into each other on turf with an egg shaped “ball” (amerians call it their “football”).

            wwc is a commercial event that supposedly returns a profit for the investors… It is a bit embarrasing only canada applied to host while zimbabwe quit. if the projected return is not up there, don’t expect similar levels of investment.

      • Steglitz49

        I do not remember any of the Confederation Cup matches being played on anything but natural grass. WC-14 will be played on grass. The one after that is in Russia and it would be surprising for it to be on artificial surfaces but as you say, let’s wait and see.

        Top men’s teams will continue to play on grass. They have the money so they will play on grass. In England there is an annual competition among the groundsmen. You get a silver cup for the best kept pitch! It is often won by Arsenal.

        However, it should be noted that some men’s WC qualifying matches have been played on artificial surfaces, including the German MNT have played matches in foreign lands on such pitches..

    • Steglitz49

      The solution is to find inventive ways of defraying the cost of laying natural grass in all stadia.

      Rich persons or corporations could step in. The grass could be cut up and sold after the tournament so people could lay it in their gardens for their kids or grandkids to play on.

      Maybe Jeff or Harjeet could find some figures on about how much it would actually cost. It may be more doable than one thinks. The costs may not be so astronomical.

  • kernel_thai

    Gage did explain one thing for me that Ive been wondering about. I couldnt figure why they wouldnt have used the BMO facility in Toronto. The answer is they had to replace the Moncton grass field with turf and they certainly wouldnt have done that in Toronto.

    The women have no leverage and the men dont have the foresight to get involved. The battlefield for this is Brazil not Canada. If the men decided that this truly opens the door for the men’s cup to be played on turf and wanted to stop it they can. While FIFA doesnt care much about the women they would grudging bend to the will of the men. WC is too globally huge an event to put at risk. If the men refused to play until FIFA committed to all future WC and WWC being played on grass it would happen. But they wont. They dont have to. They will never be put in this situation in the foreseeable future. It’s not like countries were fighting to host the WWC. Only two bids were submitted, Canada & Zimbabwe and the later withdrew their bid. The other option is if u and a million of ur friends wrote the Canada Soccer Association and said u have decided not to attend the WWC because it is being played on substandard fields and take this as deliberate discrimination against women. Of course that wont happen either.

    • Elaine

      Unfortunately, what you say here is all too true. Sigh…

      • Silver Frost

        The EU teams are going to be at a tremendous disadvantage when they come to Canada in 2015. It takes experience to finesse plastic surfaces. But Euro ladies play on grass, like everyone should.

        • kernel_thai

          And on that note…one of the Canadian excuses for turf is the winter weather yet Sweden just held an all grass Euros. Is the weather so different between those two countries?

          • Steglitz49

            Canada is certainly wealthy enough to lay natural grass. It is up to the Canadians to do the decent thing for ladies soccer. They obviously do not give a damn, as Rhett Butler would have said. A bit meaningless of them to give Christine Sinclair that sports-award, seeing their commitment to the beautiful game.

          • STT

            Actually, yeah the weather’s pretty different. Most of Western and Northern Europe are moderated by the Gulf Stream, which transports heat from the Caribbean northeast across the Atlantic. You can comfortably live above the Arctic circle in Europe; North America, not so much.

          • Steglitz49

            Grass must grow in Canada since they have cattle, sheep and horses. Remember the Calgary Stampede?

            Harjeet, who was in Sweden, can give us chapter and worse but the new stadium used in Euro-13 (the one still being built) laid natural grass but owing to the long winter and hot summer it was not in a good state by the beginning of June. In the end, though no matches was played on it after Sweden’s friendly against Norway, they ripped it up and relayed it with a second lot of sod. The extra cost! On top of this, they always intended to have an artificial pitch. This was just done for a couple of matches in Euro-13.

            The CSA’s approach seems all rather odd. Who makes these artificial surfaces? Are they Canadian companies? Or, have various Canadian fund managers invested in such companies? What is the 800-lb gorilla in the room?

          • romel dias

            what happened to the stadium?

          • Steglitz49

            Harjeet might know. As I understand it, the natural grass will be (has already been) taken up and replaced with an artificial pitch. Maybe they just rented the natural grass or have a buyer for it? The stadium will be completed in due course one assumes.

          • romel dias

  ….you mention the 800lb gorilla in the room here…he was earlier in a stadium….according to you…so I was a little confused!#@

          • Steglitz49

            Well spotted. The gorilla decided that s/he was not getting the point across in the stadium so decided to invade the Long Room of whatever the committee room of the CSA is called — the Bent Room, maybe?

            Sod (what British empire gardeners call turf, just to confuse matters) is actually not that expensive. It is the labor cost of laying it and maintaining it which is high.

            Apparently, to sod a soccer field + surrounding strip would cost $75,000 to $90,000 (but also maybe as little as $50,000), most of which is labor cost. The cost of the sod (natural grass turf) is perhaps $20,000.

          • Lorehead

            FieldTurf, owned by Tarkett, a Swedish company.

          • Steglitz49

            But Euro-13 in Sweden was played on natural grass!

            Weirder and weirder.

        • Steglitz49

          Not altogether true. Many European pitches, not least those the ladies play on, are artificial. The top men’s team play on grass, but even stadia like Arsenal’s and Wembley use reinforced grass.

      • Steglitz49

        Yes, and quite a lot.

    • wosofan

      No. Toronto failed to put a bid in to host any matches.

      • kernel_thai

        Because they didnt want the grass field removed? Or is Toronto opposed to millions in tourist dollars?

        • Steglitz49

          When did the Maple Leafs last win the Stanley cup? Just curious.

        • Joshua


          Toronto, Canada is hosting the 2015 PanAm games scheduled to be held from July 10–26, 2015, just after the 2015 WWC is held between June 6 and July 5, 2015. Interestingly, the PanAm Soccer tourney doesn’t start until July 15 and will have the final on July 25. A really tight schedule.
          There will be two major FIFA soccer tournaments in Canada in 2015, one almost on top of the other. Will certain national federations be fielding two teams to two sporting events? I think the USSF could, easily.

          • Steglitz49

            Excuses, excuses, excuses.

            Toronto could easily stage a couple of group games in early June. Maybe they wanted the Final and when refused they went off in a huff?

            The WC is the top dog by far in soccer. No-one will care a fig for the Pan-Am version, though Pan-Am teams that do not make the grade in WC might see it as balms on wounds?

            I would send the U-23 squad because the U-20s might be pushing it though they would be an alternative. Canada has to send their A-team.

            July 15 to 25 would fit for two groups of 4 teams.

          • Joshua

            About the Pan Am Games and its soccer tourney. A couple of facts: the 2015 Pan Ams will be a huge event. It will be twice as big as the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Toronto bid on the Summer Olympics twice in recent years but fell short on votes. I guess they opted to stage the PanAms as an alternative. The PanAm soccer tournament will be on natural grass unlike the 2015 WWC..
            After finishing last at the 2011 WWC, the Canada WNT sought and got redemption at the 2011 Pan Ams in Mexico, winning the Gold. They tied Brazil twice, once in group play and in the final, and won the Pan Am gold by winning the shoot out. John Herdman was the CWNT head coach afer the 2011 WWC.

          • Steglitz49

            In short, Canada will get two bites at the cherries. First the WC and then the PanAm.

            I can’t say that anyone outside Canada seems to have noticed PanAm-11. Maybe Mexico will rain on their parade this time round?

          • Joshua

            The Pan American Games get little media attention in the USA so far as I have been able to notice.

            They appear to be popular in Latin America. Canadians seem to like the Games, too, since Canadian cities have hosted three times including 2015. There was more than one city bidding for the 2015 PanAm Games. I guess at THESE games Canadians win some medals.

            There has been a Women’s Soccer Tourney at the PanAm’s since 1999. Canada fielded teams in all of them but didn’r win Gold until 2011.

            The Wikipedia article on the 2015 PanAm has this: “Toronto and Hamilton decided not to bid to host matches during the said [2015 Women’s] World Cup due to a potential conflict with the Games.” and had a link to an article in a Canadian newspaper.

  • June

    “… the decision was made to actually remove one grass pitch, in Moncton, New Brunswick, to install an artificial surface.”

  • Corinne

    Two points, it is gender discrimination because this would never happen at the men’s level. Unfortunately, it is the ‘Women’s’ game and only one country actually put in a bid to host…so we’re stuck with it. Had US Soccer or anyone else put in a bid to host there may have been an option to play on grass. Aside from that fact, turf for a World Cup still blows. Lets hope they players can withstand the rigors of playing a tournament on this type of surface.

    • Steglitz49

      How much would it cost to lay sod (natural turf, to any British empire gardeners) on a soccer pitch? How expensive would it be to grass over the artificial pitches?

      One can think of inventive ways of defraying the cost, but it would help to make a case to know what the cost is.

  • Steglitz49

    Can someone who knows please help.

    Apparently, to sod a soccer field + surrounding strip would cost $75,000 to $90,000 (but also maybe as little as $50,000), most of which is labor cost. The cost of the sod (natural grass turf) is just under $20,000.

    Are we really talking about $75,000 to $90,000 per pitch here? At $30 per ticket, it is 2,500 to 3,000 spectators for crying out loud! (If $50k, then it is 1,700 spectators.)

    Even if you double those estimates, it still is only about 5,000 spectators.

    Could someone who knows, please give us reliable figures because these sums sound too low to be so intransigent about. If they are true, the whole issue is totally bizarre. (Do a WR?)

    • stephen

      The cost of replacing the artificial turf at BMO Field in Toronto with permanent natural grass was $3.5 million. Temporary grass installations don’t work.

      • Steglitz49

        This sounds far too much, unless it was a case of pork-barelling. Oink, oink!

        Did the CSA get their budget proposal that they submitted to FIFA completely wrong? Is that where the shoe pinches?

        • If the World Cup was really so cheap to run why wouldn’t other countries submit bids?

          • Steglitz49

            Even if the cost of top quality sports-sod for a field was $100,000 and the installation cost was $250,000 making a total cost of $350,000 it is still a far cry from Stephen’s $3.5m.

            I suspect that the cost of laying a top quality field in Canada might be $125-150k rather than $75-90k, but it is still a manageable cost.

            As for why the ladies WC-15 attracted no bidders in 2010, women’s soccer became sexy when Japan won in July 2011. Soccer-playing ladies around the globe owe an enormous debt to the plucky Nadeshiko. Seven countries have bid to stage Euro-17, including Poland who co-staged the men’s Euro-12 so have up-to-date venues and recent organizational experience.

          • Steglitz49

            I should have added that the Germans who wanted to bid to stage WC-11 got a big shot in the arm in Dec-2005 when the Chancellor, Angela Merkel, spoke at an annual meeting of the German Football Association (DFB). The speech was much about the men’s WC about to be played in Germany in 2006, but in the middle of her speech she addressed women’s soccer. Roughly translated she said:

            “Because of the German women’s football is also on the rise and continues to get even better, this, I think, would stand us in good stead were we to bid to host the World Cup 2011. I say anyway: If the DFB opt to do that, I’m happy to support the project.”

            Armed with this promise of government support, the DFB went after the WC-11 world cup eventually edging Canada out of the bidding at the last round. That might explain why Canada got WC-15 so easily.

  • NYRick

    The obvious pink elephant in the room is WHY isn’t there a mandate that to even host the WWC, you have to be able to provide all matches on natural grass stadiums?

    And for the record, Sandra Gage, you are a tool. Shame on you.

    • Steglitz49

      As preparation for WC-15, Canada are hosting the ladies’ U-20 WC next year. It acts like the Confederation’s cup for men as a dry run.

      One wonders what the outcome will be if a bunch of girl are stretchered off with knee-injuries? Some of those youngsters might be in line to play in WC-15. Only nations with broad and deep talent pools, like USA and Germany, can contest major championship with their B-teams.

      If I were the CSA, I would lay that natural grass sooner rather than later.

  • Steglitz49

    Was anyone able to find a reliable figure about how much it costs to lay a soccer field with top quality natural grass? I am simply curious.