After nearly a year of bad press over its football pitch since its opening in June 2014, the Singapore Sports Hub dodged media scrutiny and secretly engaged a new field contractor, HG Sports Turf, to lay the latest grass pitch. A portion of the new grass pitch was completed and unveiled to the media today (May 19).
According to the Sports Hub, the Australian company HG Sports Turf will supply the FIFA 2 stars graded (professional grade) hybrid grass pitch for 3 years.
Below is the timeline of the fiasco happened to Singapore Sports Hub:
June 2014 – The S$1.3 billion Singapore Sports Hub opened featuring a S$833,000 Desso Grassmaster system hybrid of natural and synthetic grass.
18 Aug 2014 – Juventus coach chose not to field Carlos Tevez because he find the grass pitch unsafe:
“Tevez was rested as a precaution we wanted to avoid injuries on this sandy pitch.”
24 Aug 2014 – Minister Lawrence Wong responded to criticisms saying the grass need time to grow.
13 Oct 2014 – Brazil coach said “while the pitch was playable, it was also far short of international playing standards”. Japan coach and goalkeeper relayed the same message saying they will not be able to perform their best with the state of the pitch.
Sep 2014 – Australian Director Gregory Gillin tendered his resignation.
Oct 2014 – S$1.5 million worth of special lighting installed to help the grass “grow”
Mar 2015 – Singapore National head coach Bernd Stange ran out of patience and criticized the pitch:
“All my promises I gave to bring teams over with my personal contacts to speak with (Iran coach Carlos) Queiroz, with (Russia coach) Fabio Capello and others depend on a ready Sports Hub. Unfortunately, a lot of teams refuse to play Singapore on the artificial pitch. Even Japan refused to make training sessions here (at the Jalan Besar Stadium) before they played Brazil (at the National Stadium last year) … As long as the (National Stadium’s pitch at the) Sports Hub is not ready, we cannot attract big teams. I did everything, but it’s difficult to convince teams to play there.”
The next upcoming mega event will be the 2015 SEA Games in June, do you think the grass will be ready by then?