The stadium owned and operated by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will be hosting FIFA World Cup matches in 2026. AT&T Stadium is also in the mix to capture the much-coveted final match.
Via the Dallas Morning News, FIFA muckety-mucks returned to Dallas on Tuesday to discuss various issues, including the grass pitch to be used for the matches played there.
“We are looking at the pitch conversion and how that conversion is going to be done to make it a natural grass surface that will actually survive the duration of the tournament, which is a huge challenge,” said Heimo Schirgi, FIFA chief operating officer.
As noted in the article, AT&T Stadium has utilized grass in the past for soccer. The prior system consisted of placing a mat of natural grass on the cement slab at the floor of the venue. Seams have caused injuries, because players’ shoes can get caught on them. To get the FIFA World Cup final, Jones and company are apparently willing to take it up a notch.
“For the first time ever, we will have a system to grow the grass during the time period of the event, and that is very different from how we did it when had other events,” Cowboys executive V.P. of business operations Chad Estis said. “We have a whole team working alongside FIFA. We are confident that we will have a very good field for the event.”
As explained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the plan consists of using a grow light system. Sounds expensive.
“We’re still actually piecing together total cost,” Estis said.
Whatever it is, it’s good enough for FIFA. But, apparently, it’s not good enough for the Cowboys.
The willingness of NFL owners to bend over backwards and dig deep in the couch cushions at the behest of FIFA’s grass-pitch mandate continues to be the NFL’s Achilles heel in their ongoing insistence that fake grass is fine and dandy. Players want grass. The league hides behind contrived debates and word salads, because the owners simply aren’t willing to spend what’s needed to take care of their own players.
Even as they spend whatever they have to spend to lure international soccer to town.