STRI has ensured England will be greeted to first class training pitches when they arrive in Poland with the playing surface in Hutnik having been completely overhauled in time for the arrival of Roy Hodgson’s team.
The English FA commissioned STRI in 2011 to deliver a reconstructed pitch that was on par with the world’s best sporting venues. As well as creating a first class playing environment for the England team, STRI was also briefed to provide a legacy so that the new surface could be used and maintained by Hutnik Krakow.
Andy Cole, STRI Head of Stadia services, said: “STRI delivered the training pitches for the England team in South Africa for World Cup 2010 and have now been entrusted to bring the pitch in Hutnik to a world class standard, whilst also providing a legacy so that the local teams can enjoy a top class pitch once the FA has left.”
Snow, torrential rain and the coldest winter Poland has seen in 40 years meant that Hutnik was one of the most challenging projects the STRI team has faced, but despite these adverse conditions the English FA has been delighted with the progress made over the last year. Nine weeks after the new pitch was laid, representatives from the English FA, including Stuart Pearce, arrived to see how the pitch was progressing.
Stuart Pearce, England U-21 manager, said: “We obviously wanted someone with expertise that is used to dealing with pitches, to give us confidence that the pitches would be transformed to the required standard in time for our arrival. In addition from a legacy perspective after the tournament, there will now be a first rate pitch available at this stadium.”
To bring the pitch to the standard required STRI engaged with a number of partners to deliver the works required. CRL International was appointed to help with the pitch construction, maintenance and renovation, Everris provided the fertilizer and Barenbrug provided the seed.
Wojciech Szewczyk, of the University of Agriculture in Krakow, said: “What made the biggest impression on us was the equipment which STRI brought with them for the project, of course what also really impressed us was the organisation, the expertise and the speed at which the work was completed by the team.”
Within one week of the STRI team landing in Poland the old pitch was gone and had been replaced by a Premier League standard fibre sand playing surface.
Throughout the project the STRI team worked with representatives from Hutnik to deliver the new pitch whilst also providing essential new skills and knowledge. STRI provided lessons in grass cutting techniques and pitch maintenance for extreme weather conditions, something which would be invaluable in the months following the tournament.
Andy Cole, added: “The local team have been very welcoming and have embraced the new ideas we have brought with us. I know they are looking forward to the English team using Hutnik as their home for the duration of the championship and more importantly they want to take away the techniques that will allow them to present the surface for their local teams as they do in England.”
Kryzysztof D?bowski, deputy director of investment, said: “The fact that the new pitch that STRI are installing here will be the same type and quality of that of Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground, makes me and the city of Krakow extremely proud.”
STRI is one of the world’s leading authorities on sports turf, providing advice and expertise on the research, design, construction and management of both natural and artificial sports surfaces. STRI (previously Sports Turf Research Institute) was established in 1929, in association with the UK Golf Unions and The R&A (Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews), to provide research and advisory services for golf clubs on their golf greens and courses.
By the 1950s, STRI had established their reputation as the leading company for providing advice and research on new products and techniques for managing sports turf, not just for golf, but for all types of sports surfaces and amenity grass areas.
The last two decades have seen rapid growth within STRI, currently with 75 staff, delivering a range of consultancy and research services across an international client base of around 2,100 sports clubs and facilities each year.
The company’s website at www.stri.co.uk contains more information on STRI and their range of services.