No decision yet on stadium turf, says Sports Hub

The pitch has improved vastly for the ongoing Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup after the events calendar was cleared to allow growth lights to stimulate the growth of the rye grass.
The pitch has improved vastly for the ongoing Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup after the events calendar was cleared to allow growth lights to stimulate the growth of the rye grass.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

The Sports Hub has come out to deny a media report claiming that the National Stadium pitch will be resurfaced permanently with artificial turf as a long-term solution to its much publicised travails.

Citing unnamed sources, a Today newspaper article yesterday said the $800,000 Desso GrassMaster field - a hybrid of synthetic and natural grass - is in line to be scrapped, while events requiring real grass will be equipped with a temporary surface.

The news report generated considerable buzz on social media, with most of the online comments criticising the Sports Hub for spending more money to fix the problematic pitch.

However, a spokesman for Sports Hub Pte Ltd (SHPL) - which runs the $1.33 billion Kallang showpiece - refuted the report, saying that no decision has yet been made, as several options are still being studied.

"We are fully committed to finding a robust natural pitch solution, including for the upcoming 28th SEA Games," the spokesman added.

"The costs incurred in providing a robust solution are fully borne by SHPL. We will continue to look at all options that will allow us to host a wide range of events we plan to stage at this multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue."

The facility's dome roof has been closed since the Brazil-Japan football friendly last month to mitigate the effects of irregular and insufficient sunlight, as well as excessive humidity, that led to the sandy and patchy surface.

It has improved vastly for the ongoing Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup after the events calendar was cleared to allow $1.5 million growth lights - which act like sunlight through the night - to stimulate the growth of the rye grass.

The Sports Hub was built under a public-private partnership scheme with the Singapore Government.

While the Government did not pay anything upfront, it will bear the construction and operational costs of the Sports Hub, making annual payments over 25 years to SHPL, which manages and runs the Kallang facilities.

nsanjay@sph.com.sg