The Groundsman

January 2014

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AHEAD OF THE GAME 37 the Groundsman January 2014 Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador Arena Castelao in Fortaleza Climate issues In terms of climate, we are dealing with four climatic zones between Manaus, which is humid equatorial to Porto Alegre, which is based furthest south, which is sub-tropical humid and is relatively cold during winter months. It should be noted that the World Cup is played through the Brazilian winter. Rio de Janeiro Climate Graph Recommendations All of the 12 venue pitches were newly constructed and various recommendations were adopted to counter high rainfall and intense levels of pitch usage. This included sub surface vacuum systems and turf reinforcement. Unfortunately, not every venue adopted the recommendations making it more difficult to guarantee the quality of playing surface under extreme weather conditions. Within a stadium environment shade is problematic to a greater or lesser degree and grow lights have also been recommended to counter these issues. Brazil training sites continue to be heavily used by the local teams, which is a challenge leading up to the World Cup and every effort is being made to encourage local teams to adopt sound management operations to limit turf damage and maximise surface recovery. Pitch development however in many cities has been delayed as a result of stadium construction. One of the key issues with turf management in Brazil is a general lack of good quality machinery and limited expertise. One of the legacy requirements has been to provide workshops and training events for the local grounds teams to improve their education and knowledge for the future benefit of football in Brazil. Vacuum system Following our hands-on experience in Euro 2012 when a flash flood at the Donbass Arena was managed successfully using their own vacuum system, it made perfect sense to incorporate the same system into those stadiums where a higher rainfall is predicted for the World Cup. In São Paulo, the vacuum system is also being deployed to assist a subterranean cooling system, which has been designed to facilitate growing of perennial ryegrass throughout the year. This is somewhat of a high risk strategy should the cooling system fail during a summer heat wave, but the client was insistent that this new technology be implemented. Future focus Our focus now is to impress upon stakeholders that this is a "World Cup" and that the event will be taking place from 12 June – 13 July 2014 and that there is no room for delay. One of the greatest challenges has been to educate the local staff to fully understand what an international football pitch should look like, in order to raise local quality and to meet the international standards demanded of a World Cup. l Visit for more information and digital editions

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