Pitch at National Stadium to laid over with all-natural grass

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national stadim Singapore

SportsHub Pte Ltd (SHPL) has decided that the pitch at the National Stadium will be all-natural grass after earlier reports that it would be reverting to artificial grass.

However, the existing hybrid turf will not be removed but instead have the new pitch be laid out on top of it.

However, one expert expressed his opinion to Channel News Asia on whether if this was a good idea. Ronald Fream, founder of Golfplan - Dale & Ramsey Golf Course Architecture, said: "You don't want to have the old grass underneath. You want to take the old grass off and get rid of it. If the grass is laid on a week or 10 days before an event, they are not going to have the penetration of the roots into the sub-base to provide a firm, solid football-standard stadium.

When the S$833,000 Desso GrassMaster hybrid grass pitch was first announced to be used in the National Stadium in May earlier this year, SportsHub's outgoing senior director of Stadia, Greg Gillin said the hybrid grass solution was durable and cost-effective, compared to lay-and-play natural grass surfaces.

Now SportsHub has had a change of heart - it will implement a lay-and-play solution to solve its turf woes, ahead of the SEA Games in June next year.

In a statement on 20 December, SportsHub said the grass took too long to sink roots and is not robust enough for multi-purpose, intensive usage. It has now decided to grow a natural pitch in a plant nursery. When mature, the natural turf will then be rolled up, transported to and laid in the National Stadium on top of the existing hybrid turf.

However the pitch raised some eyebrows earlier in August, when the grass was clearly not growing well and players were concerned that the excessive amount of sand would get into the eyes of players and potentially cause injuries.

In October, the New Zealand Rugby Union cancelled the match between the rugby teams, Maori All Blacks and Asia-Pacific Barbarians due to the poor quality of the pitch that has drawn numerous complaints from sporting teams.

lights of national stadium
SportsHub said it would continue to use the lights worth S$1.5 million which were brought in earlier to keep the grass pitch healthy.

It will also maintain a second pitch with a larger surface area at the nursery. This pitch will be deployed for sports, such as cricket, that require a larger surface, and as a replacement when the first pitch is worn out.

SportsHub has said that it has not decided on the selection of the nursery, but it has chosen Eclipse from Motz Group to ensure the turf can be transported onto the existing pitch.

SportsHub added that the lay-and-play solution has been adopted successfully in many stadiums around the world, and tested in major events such as the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, and the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Although it is said that SportsHub will bear the cost of implementing the new turf solution, but some have expressed their concern that the private company will pass the additional expenses to rent and end consumers.

  • AlanJustice

    Grass not robust enough for multi-purpose, intensive usage
    may be a significant cause of the problem.

    What if the grass will not grow properly, even when there is
    sufficient sunlight because of intensive usage?

    Please ensure that lay-and-play solution do not create other
    problem, otherwise a better solution is needed.

  • Soo Bon Yee

    Is sporthub charging Greg Gillin for mismanagement and conflict of interest. Are we that stupid to employ someone who was paid handsomely and let him go just liked that. Again integrity and accountability are at stead. Claiming SpotHub paying for the cost, still public money, either left hand or right hand. May be Minister L.Wong can give us some explanation… for the next course of action, or he prefers to stay at the side lines and presumed nothing happened.

    • Nutcase

      As per Minister Wong logic SILENCE may suggest “bigger problems”.

  • nelsonmandala

    singapoor is ca$hrich..whatever the defect is repair PAY again afterall its ahKong’s money..beside anda free flow of kickbacks comin into 1 pockets(dunt bother to rely on cpib..they themselves helped their own pocket as though it neber happen)

    btw…is this a joke?

    “it would continue to use the lights worth S$1.5 million which were brought in earlier”

    you buy somethin which cost million$ and u kept in a storeoom?

  • PAP supporter

    I just can’t understand. Pitches had been in use on planet earth since long long time ago. Long before the ruling party was founded.

    Yet with all the modern technologies and modern expertise, after spending millions of dollars on this one pitch, the sports ministry still can’t get it right.

    Shouldn’t we hold the sports ministry accountable for this failure?

    Who is the sports minister?

  • Soccerbetting2

    Stated above : ” SportsHub said it would continue to use the lights worth S$1.5 million which were brought in earlier to keep the grass pitch healthy. ”

    Response : Looking at the above picture of the light equipment shown , it seems like the cost of S$1.5 million for the simple structure of the lights equipment is too expensive . What is so special about the lights equipment that it can cost S$1.5 million for it ?

    • liangjwc1

      Less than 20 wheels and few hundred metres of structures with lights……must be gold plated.

    • PikuChoo

      Sport’s Hub in continuing to use the lights is basically trying to make their initial wrong decision on buying the lights at $1.5million look like a “right” decision.

      This is throwing good money after bad. Recurrent expenses (electricity costs, maintenance, storage) will eventually far outweigh the initial capital expenditure. The RIGHT decision at this point is to sell the lights to another “sucker” and eat any losses.

  • PikuChoo

    There are two problems that won’t be fixed by merely layering on another type of grass.

    1. Poor sandy soil won’t be fixed by this. For all we know, the construction company buried construction waste under the pitch. To fix poor soil, at least the first foot (if not two) of soil need to be removed and washed (to get rid of sand and stones). Any shortfall to be topped up with good quality topsoil.

    2. The design of the roof was deficient in not considering its effect of limiting sunlight on the condition of the pitch. The roof was meant to shelter the stadium from rain and not the sun.

    To fix the roof, either replace it with a transparent material or else, incorporate louvered windows in it so that sunlight can be let in.

    This is the kind of tough decision that needs to be done to really fix the issues. But it is not the kind that we can expect our dear Sports minister Lawrence Wong to make.

  • Balasubramaniam Murugesu

    So may experts employed could not look into the how, what and why, brainstorm and come out with the right solution. This is the order of the day. Make a haphazard decision because the expert said so and then blame everyone and everything.
    Now who bears the cost? SHPL? If so wont hey incur losses. How they cover the losses? Pass it on to the public in the form of rental / entrance fee etc etc.
    That is what happens when you have scholar at the helm. Educated maybe but surely not learned in the intricacies of project management, like how VB found out when organising YOG.
    Either CCS, DL or LW need to be transparent. You were the advocates of transparency? Now walk the talk.