Noevir Stadium Kobe, the home ground of Vissel Kobe football club, is an all-weather roofed stadium.
However, the roof-support structure allows little direct sunlight to get into the ground, so the turf on the pitch is plagued by poor growth.
To compensate for the lack of sunlight hours, cool season turf has been employed, but that turf is characterised by being susceptible to high temperatures and humidity, and so the pitch was not necessarily in good condition from the rainy season through summer.
Last year there was a decisive move to switch to warm season turf for summer. In fall the turf was again successfully replaced with cool season grass, and this supported the team’s strong performance.
However, these measures cost money. It was then that the introduction of hybrid turf was considered.
This method of reinforcing natural turf by mixing natural grass with artificial grass fibres is becoming common in Europe.
In addition, other systems to support the growth of the grass continue to be implemented, including grow-lights to supplement daylight hours, control systems to manage the ground temperature that is important for growing cool season grass, and large fans that promote the ventilation of the grass surface.
The full-scale introduction of hybrid turf will start from this fall.
At England’s hallowed Wembley Stadium, which has already adopted hybrid turf, reports indicate that even rugby matches and concerts have no impact on soccer.
The installation at Noevir Stadium Kobe, the venue for 2019 Rugby World Cup matches, is likely to proceed without concerns.