High altitude artificial football pitch

artificial grass pitch in the Alps

Image Credit whoateallthepies.tv

Swiss team FC Gspon have the highest football stadium in Europe.  At 2,000m (6,560ft) above sea level, it’s so high that grass won’t grow so they had to opt for an artificial pitch.

Ottmar Hitzfeld stadium is located high in the Swiss Alps, near the resort of Zermatt.  There are no roads so players and supporters take the cable car up the mountain from a nearby village.  While access may be poor, the upside is that the views are specular.

The high altitude pitch is yet another amazing application for fake grass.  As altitude increases, the climate changes and the air becomes colder and drier.  These conditions are unsuitable for growing natural grass.  The grass cannot take root sufficiently so would not be strong enough to cope with play.  The only solution: an artificial pitch that can withstand any climate.

It is a common problem in Colorado; citizens grow hardier, hybrid grass species and seed at certain times of the year.  This wouldn’t be an option for a professional football facility.

Readers may remember the controversy in 2007 where Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia were banned from hosting world-cup qualifiers as an altitude of 2,500m gave acclimatised players an unfair advantage.  After much protesting, FIFA were forced to back down.

Bolivia’s Estadio Hernando Siles is the highest in the World at 3,577m above sea level.  The highest in the UK is The Hawthorns at 552ft – West Bromwich Albion also play on an artificial grass pitch.


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