Sportshub senior director resigns

Sportshub senior director resigns

He held a high-profile position after working for London's new Wembley Stadium, and his move to Singapore in April 2013 to become senior director of stadia for SportsHub Private Limited (SHPL) was regarded as a coup in some quarters.

Now, after 18 months on the job, it is believed Greg Gillin, the man tasked to ensure the smooth installation of the pitch, has tendered his resignation.

SHPL did not comment on the subject, but the latest development comes after months spent grappling with the state of the National Stadium pitch.

The turf laid out on the pitch is the DessoGrassMaster, a blend of natural grass and artificial fibres that was supposed to be durable enough to withstand the rigours of intense activity.

But there were loud complaints from the Italian champions and the public when Juventus took on a Singapore Selection side in August.

The Serie A giants beat the local side 5-0 in a match played on a surface with huge swathes of sandy patches.

When Brazil beat Japan 4-0 on the same pitch last month, the Football Association of Singapore declared the hybrid surface "far short of the expected international playing standards".

To stimulate the growth of the rye and blue grass seeds, $1.5 million worth of special lighting equipment was purchased by the SHPL.

The lights, hovering slightly over a metre above ground, are kept on through the night to act like sunlight.

Substantial costs were incurred as events were rescheduled to ensure the pitch was free to grow.

For the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup, hosts Singapore were forced to move all but their matches to the Jalan Besar Stadium, and all four teams grouped with the Lions were not allowed to train on the National Stadium pitch.

Gillin was pitch consultant for the Indian Super League during the construction of Singapore's Sports Hub, and according to a report in the Indian daily, The Hindu, in October, "... in the last five months alone, Gillin made around 120 visits to the eight venues; averaging 12 visits to each venue."

PROBLEMS

All this even though he admitted to "teething problems" over the National Stadium pitch after the Juventus friendly.

Even as SHPL tried to find a solution to the pitch problems, they hired Romanian consultant Alex Garbea, who was responsible for the Arena Corinthians project that was named the best field at the Brazil World Cup this year.

An SHPL spokesman said they are still studying several options and no decision has yet been made on a longer-term pitch solution at the National Stadium.

He added: "We are fully committed to finding a robust natural pitch solution, including for the upcoming 28th SEA Games.

"The costs incurred in providing a robust solution are fully borne by SHPL.

"We will continue to look at all options that will allow us to host a wide range of events we plan to stage at this multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue."


This article was first published on December 5, 2014.
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