It’s not gloom and doom at Manchester City as the suspension of football due to the coronavirus pandemic continues while countries remain under lockdown. The club is using the time to prepare for the future and that includes relaying the turf at the Etihad Stadium. Prior to the commencement of the unprecedented restriction placed on movement and sporting activities, plans were already put in place to take off the playing turf and replace it with a new surface.
However, the schedule was for the work to take place in the summer not now. Yet, the current situation has forced a rethink. No major work has been done on the pitch for over a decade and that led to plans for a rebuild this summer. But understanding the fact that the football calendar is quite unpredictable at the moment given the long stay at home, the club decided to carry out its plan ahead of schedule. Doing that now is important so that the pitch can be ready for when football does return.
Right now, no one can say with certainty when that will be as Covid-19 is still biting hard. Although the United States is now the epicentre of the pandemic, Europe remains hugely affected. Countries like Italy, Spain, France, Germany and England have all been badly hit. The major leagues in European football are drawn from these countries. As things stand, it’s unlikely players will return to the pitch until it’s considered safe to do so. That may not be in the next few weeks.
In fact, a recent letter from the EFL to clubs indicated that football will resume in the middle of June. The Premier League would likely operate on a similar timetable. The City hierarchy must have calculated that commencing work now gives the pitch ample time to be ready for when football finally returns. It will take the new pitch about eight weeks to get up to a good condition, although the surface could become playable in just four.
Several home matches are still lined up for the Blues in different competitions, so getting the job done at this point is a smart decision. It’s likely there would be regular football in the summer to make up for lost time, which will leave no chance to work on the pitch. So getting the job done now is better instead of postponing it for another year.
With work now ongoing, the players can expect to resume play on a brand new pitch. That should provide even more motivation to entertain the fans with beautiful football and continue giving each opponent a lesson in the game.