A new Spanish grass was installed within a record 48 hours, planted near Barcelona inside the Stade de France in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis, on the occasion of Saturday’s Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool.
A group of trucks unloaded 500 rolls of green grass that looked like hay bales at this stadium north of Paris.
The former “peeled” grass was removed, according to the Stade de France staff, the day after the French Cup final in early May, and before a long series of anticipated concerts. A chain that the grass can’t stand.
“This is a huge logistical challenge,” says Loic Durousel, the founding director of the Stade de France, because the operation had to be carried out within two days instead of five, given the approaching date of the final and the organization of a party for the French pop-rock group Indochine.
Concerts multiplied after a two-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, alternating with sports competitions, which required quick fixation of the lawn, which consists of an artificial mat on which natural grass grows.
The transfer of the Champions League final from Saint Petersburg, due to the Russian attack on Ukraine, to Paris, accelerated this process of fixation.
After the installation is completed on an area of 8800 square meters, the lawn has to be irrigated, pampered, striped and outlined.
Benoit Lavalle, assistant director of programming at Stade de France, explains: The challenge is measuring the surfaces, the ball has to roll perfectly.
Real Madrid wanted the grass to be between 20 and 23 millimeters, “Madrid prefers to play quickly, the shorter the grass is for it”, but the European Union (UEFA) will decide the matter in its view, “between 24 and 25”.
It is noteworthy that this green carpet is available for one month only. After the Real Madrid-Liverpool final, the French national football team matches in June and then the rugby team matches, before it is transferred to Le Mans Stadium for the next four or five years to replace the current grass that arrived to its end.
Lavallee explains: It will be rewound, loaded to Le Mans, where it will end its life.
As every summer, the Stade de France can host concerts before the lawn is re-placed.
The cost of the operation is “between 300,000 and 500,000 euros,” according to the Stade de France teams.
The grass has been prepared and the crowd of 80,000 will be present at the stadium, which was built in the 1990s to host the 1998 World Cup finals, when France won for the first time out of two world titles.
Source: AFP Paris