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Bingley's World Cup turf research is pitch perfect
World Cup
Will research in Bingley help England lift the World Cup?

If England lift the World Cup in South Africa, a group of researchers in Bingley will have cause to celebrate.

It's their work which may have helped England gain World Cup glory.

When it comes to the quality of the pitches for the 2010 World Cup, researchers from Bingley's Sports Turf Research Institute are key advisers.

Richard Hayden, director of operations at the Institute, says: "It's the biggest stage in the world and we're very proud to be involved."

The Sports Turf Research Institute (STRI) is responsible for researching and then advising on how to achieve world class playing surfaces for many sports especially football - and much of their work is done at the STRI's headquarters in Bingley.

The Institute has developed turf not only for England's training pitches but for pitches across the world, something which Richard Hayden says he is very proud of.

He explains: "We went out to South Africa last August to do a tour of the pitches. Subsequently we were employed by the Football Association to improve their training pitches.

"From there it really just spiralled into something that was bigger than any of us anticipated.

Football on pitch
There is a real science to making sure World Cup pitches are perfect

"The English Football Association suddenly had the best pitches of the World Cup in terms of training pitches.

"FIFA began to look at this and ultimately they said, 'We want good pitches in all the stadiums'."

For the past few months, the STRI team has been working in South Africa with the focus on getting 54 pitches in condition to receive the World Cup teams.

This includes all 10 showpiece stadium pitches, 32 training camps and a number of other training sites.

Dr Gordon McKillop, chief executive of the Sports Turf Research Institute, says the team from Bingley has been closely involved in every stage of the preparations leading up to the World Cup kick-off.

He says: "First of all we're involved in discussing how the pitches should be designed and constructed to make sure they perform properly and get off to the best possible start.

"It's a matter now of making sure that they're brought up to the world class standard and maintained.

"Our main challenge is to get it right for whatever sport we're involved in - and that's most of the major sports."

Our main challenge is to get it right for whatever sport we're involved in - and that's most of the major sports.
Dr Gordon McKillop, chief executive, Sports Turf Research Institute

As far as the England World Cup team is concerned, Bingley's Sports Turf Research Institute has hopefully done its bit to make sure Rooney and co are well-prepared - even down to making sure they have trained on exactly the same sort of grass that they are now preparing to play on in South Africa.

Dr Andy Newell, head of turf grass biology at the STRI explains: "It's perennial ryegrass. That's the sort of turf they'll be using in the World Cup.

"They played on perennial ryegrass right through the last season. As far as the surface is concerned they should be well-suited."

With the World Cup now upon us, it is of course down to the England team to do their bit to bring this trophy of trophies home.

But if they succeed then it's another team based at the STRI laboratories in Bingley who can be certain that they will also have played a part in that success.




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