Specialists from the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and FIFA joined experts from the Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) for a inspection of pitches which will host matches and training sessions at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. As the LOC's consultant in this field, STRI led the delegation around 23 cities involved in the running of the future tournament. From 18 to 28 September, three expert groups made up of specialists from all three bodies visited 12 stadiums, 36 Venue Specific Training Sites (VSTSs) and 35 pitches attached to Team Base Camps (TBCs).
“All the football pitches, be they at World Cup stadiums, training grounds or base camps will leave a legacy after the tournament and will continue to be used,” declared the CEO of the LOC, Alexey Sorokin. “Together with STRI, who have been FIFA consultants for many years, we are inspecting the condition of pitches to the very highest standards.”
Particular attention was paid to the state of pitches and training sites that will be used during the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 in Kazan, Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sochi. Training grounds where work is going on were also examined.
“During the tour we’ve seen a lot of the venues at different stages of development. I think there are certain sites we’re focused on to ensure they will meet our standards. In general we’re happy with what we have seen and what has been done so far, what’s being proposed and what needs to be done in terms of pitch management ahead of the FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup”, said STRI specialist Ian McClements.
Following the pitch inspection, LOC and STRI experts will draw up a report that will evaluate the current condition of pitches at Russia 2018 sites and will include recommendations for further work.
The delegation visited all 11 Host Cities at Russia 2018, plus Krasnodar, Asov, Taganrog, Svetlogorsk, Gelendzhik, Anapa, Astrakhan, Voronezh, Grozny, Kaluga, Tolyatti and Ufa.