Retractable pitch debuts in Premier League

Katie McIntyre in Sports
Venue Business
says the opening Premier League match on the world’s first
dividing retractable pitch took place last week, when Tottenham Spurs took on
Crystal Palace at the New Spurs Stadium.

Sheffield (England) engineering specialist SCX has been
building up to this key fixture in its 46-year history, which saw the pitch it
designed, engineered and installed at the New Spurs Stadium; the first Premier
League match follows the successful testing of SCX’s pitch and two test event
games at the new 62,000-seat stadium.

The grass surface, which can be rolled back to reveal a
bespoke NFL pitch below, is the result of the vision and expertise of SCX
Special Projects, the bespoke engineering arm of the SCX group. The retractable
real grass surface splits into three pitch-long steel trays. When the trays slide
together, the join is invisible and imperceptible to the players. The trays,
weighing more than 3,000 tons each, can be rolled under the new South Stand to
reveal the NFL artificial surface in a process taking about 25 minutes.

The mechanical tests included the sideways movement of the
side trays to meet the center tray, the defining feature that makes the pitch a
world first. Teams of electrical, mechanical and design engineers from SCX
Special Projects, based in Wincobank, Sheffield, were on hand.

The innovative system means the venue can be used for music concerts and other events in addition to regular football matches and NFL games. See more here