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  • Sep 20, 2014
  • Updated: 10:41am
NewsHong Kong

Fake grass for Hong Kong Stadium is a bad idea, expert says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 July, 2013, 8:09am

Grass in the Hong Kong Stadium should not be replaced with artificial turf, a local turf expert has said amid complaints of the poor quality of grass plaguing the city's top sporting venue.

"Players will get more seriously hurt on synthetic grass. It's also environmentally unfriendly," said Dr Eric Lee Yin-tse, turf expert and honorary senior research fellow at the Chinese University's School of Life Sciences.

Lee, who has designed sports pitches and racecourses for Hong Kong and Singapore, said studies showed that the temperature of plastic grass was at least 10 degrees Celsius higher than the air temperature.

The artificial turf, which usually lasts for about five years, required prolonged irrigation to cool it, and the rubber layer of the synthetic grass also contained heavy metals, he said.

Lee's comments came as internet users called for the pitch in Hong Kong Stadium to be replaced with artificial turf after the poor-quality appearance of the stadium's natural grass was broadcast internationally during Saturday's soccer match.

The online call coincided with the government's plan to replace natural grass on the city's pitches with synthetic grass. It would help cut maintenance costs and accommodate the growing demand for training grounds, the government said.

But Lee said: "This should not be the solution. Natural grass pitches can be easily maintained and open longer for use if the government improves its skills and management methods."

The pitch at the 40,000-seat Hong Kong Stadium in So Kon Po has been at the centre of controversy since it was redeveloped in 1994 for a hefty HK$850 million. The turf caused injuries to players and became loose under the stress of soccer and rugby games.

The issue led to the early termination of the operator Wembley International (HK)'s 10-year contract in 1998. The contract was to have ended in 2004.

After the contract was terminated, the turf was replaced, but the problem did not go away. It has been said that the arena had design and construction defects in the first place.

It is uncertain whether the same problem will arise at the new sports complex to be built in Kai Tak by 2019. The complex will have a 50,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof.


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The 'local expert' should do some research
Premier soccer team stadia synthetic playing surface examples
Century Link field stadium MLS Seattle Sounders capacity 67,000 www.soundersfc.com/team/facilities.aspx
Gillette Stadium MLS New England Revolution capacity 69,000 www.revolutionsoccer.net/stadium/gillette-stadium-overview
Jeld-Wen field MLS Portland Timbers capacity 19,000 - Field to host to 2014 MLS All-Star game jeld-wenfield.com/
Luzhniki Olympic stadium Moscow Capacity 100,000 FC Spartak PFC CSKA www.luzhniki.ru/content/map/big-arena/
Estadio Ricardo Saprissa Costa Rica capacity 23,000 Deportivo Saprissa www.saprissa.cr/
Estadi Olímpic de Terrassa capacity of 11,500 - Terrassa FC, also in Spain Santa Coloma de Gramanet, Hospitalet
SC CAMBUUR Dutch 1st Div
Tulpa stadium Kazan Russia www.kazan2013.ru/en
Tasma stadium Kazan Russia (both hosted the World University Championships July 2013) www.kazan2013.ru/en
Gallagher Stadium Maidstone United UK
75% of UK Premier soccer teams practice on 3G pitches as do FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Man U, Man City, Liverpool etc before we even get to major NFL stadium pitches like MetLife Giants & Jets
As for 'local expert' comment 'heavy metals in crumb rubber'
Journalists should do some research too
It is ‘experts’ like these who caused the problem. HKJC’s Halliday refused to listen to Wembley grass experts from the outset & insisted on the Netlon pitch.
Para 92. 23 May 1994 from Wembley to J Halliday problems encountered after Chelsea v Hong Kong soccer match,(the pitch had had ten days without use). The pitch had cut-up badly, even after the pre-main event ladies' soccer game. observed that there was little or no root growth/ top growth was less than predicted, & the pitch was draining very quickly, did not retain water. Oram described the problems for the players, who could not accelerate, turn or sidestep without the danger of losing their footing, further, the level of the pitch was not satisfactory for top-class sport. Concluded "the PITCH WILL NOT RESIST LATERAL FORCES without opening the surface, which then becomes unstable, & cannot be repaired easily, requested an early meeting with Halliday to agree a remedial course of action."
SO what has changed ?
See this site:
Heat on natural vs artificial turf Milone & MacBroom.
Conclusion: turf surface be hotter to touch, actually little to no difference at 2 feet and 5 feet above a turf surface.
Watch this:


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