Celebration of Top-performance Soccer pitches

Written on 04/30/2021
Anne Mette Dahl Jensen

2021 will be a celebration for European football fans and for fans all over the world. The turf seed industry will have a special interest in evaluating the performance of the stadiums combining the skills of the groundsmen and top performing turf grass brands.

The countdown has started, and fans are looking forward for a month of exciting hours cheering for their favorite teams at the EURO 2021 with the opening match played 11 June 2021 in Rome. Together with the Olympics, it will probably be the most watched sporting event in 2021.

Normally the finals take place in one or two countries like in France 2016, and in Poland/Ukraine 2012 but this year’s finals will be performed in 12 cities in 12 different countries. Eight of the 12 cities are capitals and the 24 qualified national teams over a full month will play 51 matches, before we can salute the #1.

All matches will be played on natural grass. The base is living grass roots and shoots that will endure the tear and wear of the games. Most stadiums will host 4 games and on top of this, Wembley Stadium in London will host two semifinals and the final 11 July.

Looking at the geography there is a wide difference from St. Petersburg at the Baltic Sea, to Bilbao at the Atlantic Ocean, to Baku at the Caspian Sea or Budapest in Central Eastern Europe. All these stadiums have different challenges to battle. Some have mild and humid coastal climate; some have cooler temperatures during winter and late spring and others face heat or drought issues.

No matter the given climate prerequisites, all the stadiums need to present themselves in the best shape at kickoff. Some stadiums will have a base of 100% Perennial ryegrass or a mixture of Smooth meadow grass and Perennial ryegrass. In the preparations for the EURO 2021 finals the stadiums are overseeded with mixtures consisting of high quality and thoroughly tested varieties of Perennial ryegrass in order to get the perfect surface for the soccer players.

Groundsmen ask for the best varieties with proven performance and high germination. They need rapid recovery – even in cold temperatures and robust, hard wearing plants with high stress tolerance. The grass needs to establish fast and develop strong dense roots – and visually – the pitch must be second to none.

The 4turf tetraploid perennial ryegrasses are part of the variety mixtures on most of the stadiums. 4turf has in a few years become a valued component in many pro-turf brands where persistence and stress tolerance are crucial. This is also a tribute to our plant breeders’ results. Plant breeding matters!

Source: DLF