The Groundsman

June 2012

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the Groundsman June 2012 FEATURE 23 Ready for Europa League Final STRI ensured the playing surface at the National Arena in Bucharest, Romania, was ready to host the Europa League Final between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao. The fully renovated National Arena hosted its first showpiece final on May 9 at the 55,600 capacity venue. STRI was commissioned by the Romanian government to make significant improvements to the pitch following the inaugural match at the stadium in September 2011 between Romania and France. The playing surface had received widespread condemnation having failed during the UEFA Euro 2012 Group D qualifier due to the installation of an inferior turf with an inconsistent and unstable upper rootzone. As a temporary arrangement immediately following the Romania versus France match, STRI recommended an immediate re-turf to ensure the Arena could fulfil its domestic and Europa League fixture obligations during the winter months of 2011. STRI was subsequently approached to work closely with the stadium operators to co-ordinate a reconstruction of the pitch which involved removing the unstable upper rootzone and replacing it with fibresand and a premium grade stadium turf. In conjunction with the contractor, work commenced in early March 2012 to remove the existing turf and upper rootzone. The pitch grades and levels were restored using 3-D laser guided equipment. An installation of fibresand in layers followed before turfing.

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