FIFA worried that African grass in Green Point will be yellow - so first world cup on African soil will be on European grass
Yesterday, at the startling £400m Green Point stadium in Cape Town, perky shoots of pale green ryegrass were pushing through the soil three weeks after the seeds were sown. But local specialists say ryegrass – a cold season variety suited to Europe – will not stand the test of time and will have to be replaced after the World Cup.
SHOOT: As they say, come June Kikuyu turns parchment yellow in South Africa's inland stadiums.
Millions of Africans have been saying it for years: the grass is greener in Europe. Now the world's football bosses have decided that Africa's indigenous grass is not bright enough for international television audiences.
In a major blow to South African pride in hosting next year's World Cup, stadiums used for top matches have been told to scrap their hardy African kikuyu pitches and switch instead to tender European ryegrass.
The decision comes amid mounting claims that the month-long tournament next June will be a "playground for Europeans'', providing scant long-term benefit to the largely poor country.
"Fifa decided that our pre-grown kikuyu pitch was not uniformly dark green enough for television so we have started again with ryegrass seed,'' said Pieter Cronjé, World Cup communication director for Cape Town where one of the semi-finals is due to be played.