GreenFields / TenCate

Hybrid XtraGrass pitch at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium

GreenFields started with the installation of an XtraGrass pitch in the Kassam Stadium, home of Oxford United Football Club and London Welsh Rugby Club. This will be the second club in the UK that will play on the hybrid system, after the Ricoh Arena where work has started late May.

Mark Ashton, United’s chief executive: “We all saw last season the pitch at the Kassam Stadium wasn’t of the standard we would want. We want to give (boss) Michael (Appleton) and the team the best opportunity moving forward. It’s a long-term investment for us, but we think it is fundamental to what we are trying to build at the football club”. XtraGrass is a hybrid system where natural grass is reinforced with the artificial grass fibers of TenCate Grass. As a result the playability of the pitch is going up and the pitch is more resistant to wear in specific areas. Another beneficial characteristic is that the condition of the pitch throughout the year and the quality will be more consistent. This new system combines the best of both worlds.

The stadium has a typical English signature: atmospheric, intimate and the audience close to the pitch with a capacity of 12,500 spectators. It is named after Firoz Kassam, a businessman and former chairman, who bought the club in 1999 when it was in dire straits. The construction of the stadium had just started in 1999 but was, due to the financial problems, even shut down some time. In 2001, the stadium was finished. Oxford United was saved thanks to Kassam and entered a new future. Oxford United plays in the third division, the fourth level in England. Herein they play 24 clubs, including Wimbledon and Portsmouth. Oxford United ended last season as thirteenth. Since 2012 London Welsh Rugby Club plays their home matches at Kassam Stadium. The rugby club London Welsh are playing at the third level, after they were relegated from the Premiership in 2013.