MetLife Stadium announced Monday it will install a natural grass field after being named the final venue for the 2026 World Cup.
Stadiums usually have a field where draws are played. rampant criticism From the players. Injury concerns came into focus when New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers ruptured his Achilles tendon in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season and missed the season.
The 2022 World Cup regulations stated that “matches shall be played on natural turf or, if special permission is granted by FIFA, on artificial turf.”
Artificial turf has never been used in a men's tournament before. However, its use at a stadium in Canada during the 2015 women's tournament drew widespread criticism and led to a lawsuit by the players, which was ultimately dropped.
Other host stadiums also converted to grass.
MetLife is not the only stadium required to install a natural grass field to meet FIFA requirements. Eight of the 16 venues scheduled to host World Cup matches will have to convert from grass to turf.
Seattle CEO and Seattle World Cup Organizing Committee Chairman Peter Tomozawa said turf will be installed at Lumen Field and is already being grown, according to KSL.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Atlanta United's pre-World Cup games will be played on turf rather than turf after the installation of turf at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
FIFA has hired John Sorochan, professor of turfgrass science and management in the University of Tennessee's Department of Plant Sciences, to oversee the installation and maintenance of the tournament field.