A new state-of-the-art $1.6 million artificial football turf at ASB Football Park (formerly English Park) is on track to be completed by the end of September.
The newturf is designed to remain playable in all weathers and upgraded lighting will improve conditions for play and be more friendly for neighbours. This is the first turf of its kind in Christchurch and only the second installed in New Zealand via the FIFA Goal Programme, following the success of a similar turf at North Harbour Stadium.
The project is a partnership between Christchurch City Council, FIFA, New Zealand Football and Mainland Football and heralds a new era for sports playing surfaces for the city.
An open day, to be held on Sunday 2 October, will give the public the opportunity to see the best the game has to offer on the finest purpose-built football ground in the South Island. The open day will commence with a blessing of the ground by kaumatua, Rakiihia Tau, of Ngai Tuahuriri and a performance by its kapa haka group. Local clubs will commence a parade around the pitch, thenFIFA dignitaries will officially inaugurate the ground. The open day will be a family-focused event aimed at the local community with games and activities for kids.
Mayor Bob Parker says Christchurch City Council is as committed as ever to supporting active recreation in and around the city.
“English Park has a long footballing tradition and it’s great to be part of the next chapter in that history. This is only the second FIFA football turf in New Zealand and I’m very pleased to welcome this ‘next generation’ facility as Christchurch rebuilds and looks to a brighter than ever future.”
The project to upgrade ASB Park was a joint venture led by Christchurch City Council with a contribution of $1.065 million and supported via a grant of $535,000, administered by New Zealand Football. This grant is part of FIFA’s long standing Goal Programme for development projects around the world, an initiative of the FIFA President, Joseph S. Blatter which commenced in 1999.
Frank van Hattum, Chair of New Zealand Football says it is fantastic that FIFA continues to invest in grassroots football in New Zealand and that the success of the ASB Football Park project bodes well for future partnerships with other cities.
“This latest boost for the sport represents part of a national strategy to improve access to high quality football facilities and development programmes to deliver our Whole of Football Plan.”
Mike Coggan, Chief Executive of Mainland Football is thrilled with the financial and human resource support that it has received from all partners.
“We are very grateful for Christchurch City Council’s help with this project, which ranged from staff expertise and the use of Council-owned land, to a significant contribution towards the cost of installing the turf and lighting which together with FIFA and NZF has made this project a reality.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to spread a love of the beautiful game through providing a top-class football venue that can be used come rain or shine.”