The San Siro pitch has been criticised in the last few weeks as the condition of the field has worsened, but it will be relaid ahead of the Milan derby after the break.
There has been a growing discontent over the state of the pitch, which was heightened by the two quick games over the weekend. The game between Inter and Venezia on Saturday night already provided worrying signs about the health of the grass, and it was no better for the 0-0 draw between Milan and Juventus last night, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic even coming off injury and blaming it.
Milan-Juventus was the 8th game in 17 days played on the field and the second in 24 hours which is obviously very difficult for the groundsmen to try and navigate, and now Giovanni Castelli – the agronomist for San Siro – has confirmed the pitch will be relaid.
“Don’t worry, we are ready to start with the work of replacing and mending the pitch. The derby will have the turf that such an important and spectacular challenge deserves, and we had guaranteed until the Christmas break,” Castelli said (via La Gazzetta dello Sport).
“The calendar was too full of events and the field suffered: just think that from the Roma game to last night at San Siro there were 7 matches between Serie A and Coppa Italia, to which we must add the Super Cup, which during the award ceremony brought about three hundred people in the field.
“Once two games were played in just 24 hours and in two other cases two games 48 hours apart. We understand the discomfort for the protagonists, but we can guarantee that after the break it will be like playing on a new pitch.
“Fortunately, there will be no weather problems for the next ten days, neither heavy rain nor snow is expected: stable conditions guarantee zero risks. From the post Milan-Juve the logistics have already been prepared, this morning at 9 we will begin to completely remove the old turf, then from tomorrow until Friday the new lawn arriving from Verona will be rested and the mending work will start from Saturday to Thursday, with four textile machines.
“It is a solution that has existed for about twenty years and which now all the top clubs in Europe use. Every two centimetres of grass there is a twenty centimetre long synthetic thread that enters 18cm deep while peeping out by two centimetres. In a square meter of clods there are hundreds of threads, it is as if we were putting nails on a board: maximum safety and tightness. Practically it is as if each clod were a box of a puzzle that fits together with the other.
“Usually the substitution takes place in the summer, when you have much more time. During the year we work on regeneration, with lamps and all the necessary machinery. But looking at the calendar, we opted for the replacement and mending intervention.
“After the derby, there will again be a slot of seven events in ten days between the league and various cups. Starting over with a new pitch was necessary.”