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Pompey Groundsman Helps With World Cup Preparations

Matt Frost delivers football pitch masterclass in Russia

7 June 2018

Moscow pitch conference
Grounds managers from the World Cup stadiums and training venues meet with speakers and members of the tournament organising committee at the conference in Moscow

When the World Cup kicks off in Russia next week, some of the experience in managing the Fratton Park surface will have been transferred into the ultra-modern pitches that have been constructed for the tournament.

Pompey grounds manager Matt Frost was in Russia recently after being invited to deliver a football pitch masterclass as part of the preparations for the 2018 tournament.

He had already impressed football authorities in the country, having prepared and provided the pitch under difficult circumstances for the 2008 Champions League final, which was held in Moscow.

Matt has also previously worked on several other surfaces in Eastern Europe.

The audience included turf managers, stadium operatives and Russian football clubs, all tasked with providing training and stadium facilities for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The conference, which took place over three days in Moscow, also had speakers from Holland, Germany, Japan and Russia and covered a variety of topics, but focused on managing playing surfaces during major tournaments.

Matt said: “I was invited to give a seminar to the ground staff about the scale and magnitude of the event and how to manage the diverse demands of FIFA, the media and tournament organisers.

“It can be a very stressful time for ground staff and I was able to tell them about the techniques we use at Fratton Park as it is an older-style pitch and needs careful preparation, similar to that which will be needed at the World Cup.

"It's great for Pompey to be asked to assist with industry knowledge for such a major event."

Matt Frost

“With the pressure a major tournament brings, even modern pitches have a tipping point.

“It's great for Pompey to be asked to assist with industry knowledge for such a major event. It shows how far the club has come in such a short space of time and how serious everyone at the club is about getting back to the highest forms of competition.

Matt, who joined the Blues in the summer of 2015, is considered one of the most experienced and accomplished groundsmen in the industry, having prepared surfaces for major events such as the Olympic and World Cup, and tended pitches at Wembley, Millennium Stadium, San Siro, Donbass Arena and Ibrox, to name a few.

The pitch at Fratton Park is one of the oldest constructed in the EFL and its soil-based construction – unlike most modern sand, grass and synthetic pitches – presents numerous challenges for Matt and his team, particularly in the winter.

He said: “The pitch Fratton Park pitch is essentially like a classic car so it needs lots of attention.

“However, with the hard-work of the ground staff here we are able to prepare a pitch which looks good and plays well. That expertise has now been transferred onto the world stage.”


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