Though some may not immediately focus on it, undoubtedly one of the key factors for the success of the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 will be the stadium pitches and those of the official training centres (OTCs). This was precisely the subject of a two-day seminar which ended this Tuesday 23 April in the city of Salvador. The Seminar on the Preparation of Pitches for the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 brought together representatives from the Local Organising Committee (LOC), the company STRI, which provides FIFA with consultancy services in relation to pitches, and 70 participants from the tournament´s host cities. 

The overriding purpose of the event was to present the recommendations of FIFA and the LOC in relation to the maintenance of the pitches of the OTCs and six stadiums to be used during the competition, set to take place from 15-30 June. These recommendations are the result of investment in domestic and international consultancy services so as to supply the hosts with first-rate technical information that is both free of charge and customised for each stadium.

“The playing field is the focal point of the event and the quality of the pitch is of paramount importance both to the players and the spectacle. Hence, the chance to exchange quality information on pitches, with everyone expressing their ideas and sharing experiences in one venue, is a unique opportunity. This transfer of information is vital to the success of both the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup™,” said the LOC Competition and Team Services general manager, Frederico Nantes.

Techniques and treatment
On the first day of the seminar, Monday 22 April, the participants were given the opportunity to attend lectures delivered by Englishman Andy Cole, from STRI, and the Brazilian Maristela Kuhn, from Arena, a company which provides the LOC with consultancy services in relation to stadiums and facilities. The issues addressed included cutting techniques, the repair and maintenance of pitches, suitable types of grass, the ideal treatments against diseases and insects, in addition to the importance of standardisation to ensure all the playing fields used in the tournament feature the same characteristics.

The second and final day of the event in Salvador featured a practical session held at the Pituacu stadium, one of the OTCs for the FIFA Confederations Cup. The participants were given a close-up view of the use of equipment, the different phases of pitch preparation, and the cutting process using ropes to create the appearance of alternate light and dark-green stripes parallel to the goal line, ten on each side of the field.

“We are extremely pleased to have hosted this seminar here in the state of Bahia, an acknowledgement of the fact we have fully complied with the recommendations of FIFA and the LOC,” said the State Secretary for the World Cup (Secopa-BA), Ney Campello. “This [seminar] doesn´t mean we were doing things wrong previously, but we can do better. We therefore shouldn’t be hearing the usual complaints from players and coaches about the state of the pitches. This will be a legacy for Brazilian football,” he concluded.