Olympic Stadium managers are scrapping their high-quality artificial turf pitch, less than a year (and just one match) after it opened. They are even thinking of getting rid of it.
In addition to the core of the field being closed until further notice, exploratory work announced last week aimed at potentially replacing the roof is also forcing the new green roof to make way. Excavation, inspections and preventative maintenance of the drainage system go against keeping the “FIFA Quality Pro” certified stadium in place, the only one of this scale in Quebec.
“The new artificial surface was installed in December 2022 and opened in January 2023,” confirmed Cedric Essimene, spokesman for the Olympic Park. “At that time, we were not quite so far along in developing the feasibility study that we could know that we would have to dismantle it for future exploratory work.”
The cost to acquire, install and certify it is $907,000, according to Olympic Park. The organization also purchased $200,000 worth of plywood to protect the field when not in use.
“The budget for the exploratory work in the playing area is one million dollars and includes dismantling the stands, removing the turf and digging holes in addition to the various measures that will be taken,” Mr. Isimeni continued.
The organization confirmed last January that this field would help attract major leagues.
“With this new playing surface, the Olympic Park increases its attractiveness for promoters from here and elsewhere who want to organize a sporting event at the stadium,” said Alain Larochelle, Vice President of the Olympic Park.
“We can now say it: We are currently in talks with the NFL with a view to hosting matches at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal!”, Mr. Isimeni confirmed on Twitter, a few days after the inauguration.
Since that moment, FC Montreal has played a match on the roof, in March 2023. The team has also trained there 51 times, according to the Olympic Park. No events have occurred there since last April.
The organization highlighted the poor condition of the former stadium, which many athletes considered too difficult. “The former playing surface at the Olympic Stadium was at the end of its useful life and posed an increased risk of injury to players,” Mr Isimeni stressed.
Regardless of its withdrawal, the fate of the stadium’s artificial turf has not yet been decided.
“The current surface will be carefully stored. An Olympic Park spokesperson noted that several options are currently under consideration, including re-installing it in the park (inside or outside) or elsewhere, donating it or selling it.” Final decision, the land will be stored by the Olympic Park. »
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