The Eclipse Stabilised Turf combines natural and artificial grass, but is recognised by FIFA as 100 per cent natural turf and can be used immediately after installation.
The Singapore Sports Hub on Tuesday (May 19) unveiled part of its brand new pitch at the National Stadium, just in time for the 28th SEA Games, which kicks off on Jun 5.
The Sports Hub said it has named Australia-based company HG Sports Turf as the official supplier of the Eclipse Stabilised Turf for the National Stadium for three years.
The technology combines natural grass with artificial grass - but is recognised by FIFA as a 100 per cent natural turf, Sports Hub said. "The reinforcement of the artificial grass combined with the open-weave backing guarantees stability and an even playing surface” when installed, it added.
The pitch installation comprises 8,000 square metres or 800 rolls of Eclipse Stabilised Turf, each weighing 750kg. These will be transported from the nursery to the stadium with 40 flat-bed trucks within 48 hours and can be used immediately after installation. The turf has an expected lifespan of 15 years in Singapore.
Singapore Sports Hub chief executive Philippe Collin-Delavaud noted that “HG Sports Turf have had success in stadia and events under challenging conditions and bring with them a highly trained and experienced team of professionals to install and maintain the turf at the nursery and at the National Stadium.”
To date, HG Sports Turf has supplied turf solutions to world-class sporting venues such as Etihad Stadium and Melbourne Cricket Ground, as well as at events like last year's AFC Football Cup and ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia.
“We will continue to closely monitor and test the quality of the pitch before, during and after each event to ensure it is performing to our expectations of delivering a world-class facility,” Mr Collin-Delavaud added.
To maximise the potential of the Eclipse Stabilised Turf, Sports Hub said it has put in place growth lights, additional fans for air movement and made improvements to the pitch irrigation system. It has also installed moisture and temperature probes to manage the climate in the stadium. If there is a non-sporting event in the stadium, protective covering will be laid over the pitch as well.
Sports Hub has yet to cover the entire stadium with the new turf, but enlisted the help of a few of Singapore's Under-23 footballers, including Irfan Fandi, to test out the grass.
The previous hybrid turf at the National Stadium was subject to scrutiny because of its poor condition, drawing criticism and concern from international sporting heavyweights Juventus and the Maori All Blacks, among others.
Last October, Sport Singapore took issue with the "sub-standard readiness" of the pitch which appeared sandy and patchy during a Brazil-Japan friendly, and urged the Sports Hub management to "do everything necessary" to ensure the pitch meets ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) requirements.
To preserve the pitch for the AFF Suzuki Cup, Sports Hub took a number of drastic measures, including cancellation of an international rugby match between the Maori All Blacks and the Asia Pacific Dragons, postponed a Jay Chou concert, and moved the stage for Friday’s Mariah Carey concert away from the pitch.