With FIFAs end of year deadline looming, its been reported that the building of several of the World Cup stadiums in Brazil are well behind schedule.
The 12 stadiums, which are being built with $300m (£186m) of public money, are due to host the international tournament in June next year, but are not thought to be ready until mid-January.
The newly built ‘Arena de Sao Paulo’ in Sao Paulo, Brazil has not only been chosen to host the opening ceremony next year but also boasts a pitch reinforced by approximately 20 million artificial fibres to reinforce the natural grass. The role of artificial turf will keep the pitch visually attractive and in perfect, playable condition at all times, even in the hot weather.
It seems that artificial turf is winning over South American football, especially in Argentina and host country Brazil. Many of the biggest clubs in both countries now train on artificial turf, including Boca Juniors and River Plate in Argentina, and Corinthians and Sao Paulo in Brazil.
While none of the bigger teams have replaced their natural grass, the makers of artificial pitches in both countries are confident it will happen soon.
While many people will remember the horrifying ‘plastic carpets’ installed on English pitches during the 1980’s, Mr Oliveira of Soccer Grass, Brazils largest artificial grass manufacturer, says artificial turf has returned to popularity because its standard has been transformed over the past decade.
“The product today is a world apart from the past,” he says. “The plastic fibres are longer and softer, and as importantly, the underlay is made of rubber granules, so it is as soft to play on as a natural grass surface, and the ball moves and bounces in the same way.
“It is the same quality as natural grass.”
Footballs governing body FIFA seems to agree as they give artificial turf their support on pitches as long as it meets their strict standards.