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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Hampden pitch replaced
Hampden Park
The pitch will be ready by the Champions League final
Work has begun to completely re-lay the rutted playing surface at Scotland's national stadium.

Hampden Park in the south of Glasgow is hosting the prestigious European Champions' League final on 15 May.

The owners of the 52,000-seater stadium hope the pitch will be in perfect condition by then.

The state of the pitch has come under heavy criticism over the last year for its mini-craters and bare patches.

We never run away from the fact that the surface is not what we would have wanted

David Kells
Hampden plc

The work started on Monday morning.

The existing pitch will be ripped up and replaced with brand new rolls of turf.

The contractors, SIS, have already re-turfed the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff and Amsterdam's Ajax Arena.

Hampden plc chief executive David Kells said the cost would be "less than six figures."

Mr Kells told BBC Scotland: "The pitch was laid three-and-a-half years ago.

Unfair comments

"I think in the days of new stadia design with the stands coming over and covering the actual pitches, it is happening more often.

"Down south for instance the pitch at Manchester United has been re-laid seven times in five years."

Mr Kells added: "The experts recommended that relaying the pitch in April was the best time because you immediately get growth from the new surface that goes down."

Comments about the pitch being "rutted" were unfair, Mr Kells said.

"We never run away from the fact that the surface is not what we would have wanted and expected.

Hampden Park
Hampden bosses expect the surface to be ready

"We tried some remedial work last year which didn't recover the pitch and that is why we took the decision at the end of 2001 that the pitch would be re-laid."

Mr Kells said the pitch would be ready for the Scottish Cup final on 4 May.

"What we want to do is ensure whoever plays on the pitch enjoys a first-class surface," Mr Kells said.

The Champions' League final is expected to generate up to 20m for Glasgow, with about 75,000 extra visitors due in the city.

Tourist bosses say all of Glasgow's 12,500 hotel beds will be fully booked during the big event and late-night licences will be allowed in the city.

David Kells, Hampden plc chief executive
"We never run away from the fact that the surface is not what we would have wanted"
See also:

10 Apr 02 | Scotland
D-day for Euro final tickets
10 Dec 01 | Scotland
Big screen plans for champions final
19 Nov 01 | Scotland
City set for soccer windfall
28 Jun 01 | Scotland
Hampden project 'fatally flawed'
03 Apr 00 | Scotland
SFA takes Hampden control
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