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The ground is greener - in Korea

PUBLISHED: 11:15 12 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:19 03 March 2010

ALAN Ferguson, Ipswich Town's and the Premiership's top groundsman, has received a World Cup call.

Mr Ferguson, who was credited with preparing the best top-flight surface last season, has been sharing his knowledge with the organisers of this year's World Cup finals in Korea and Japan.

ALAN Ferguson, Ipswich Town's and the Premiership's top groundsman, has received a World Cup call.

Mr Ferguson, who was credited with preparing the best top-flight surface last season, has been sharing his knowledge with the organisers of this year's World Cup finals in Korea and Japan.

The 42-year-old was asked by international grass seed merchants Barenbrug to talk with a team from the Toyota Stadium, who were in Europe on a fact-finding trip.

Temperatures in the host nations are set to soar to as high as 35 degrees C during this summer's World Cup, which makes it difficult to keep the grass cool and in an atmosphere in which it can thrive.

The Toyota Stadium officials had been examining ways to protect their grass plants in what is also an area of high humidity – and Mr Ferguson believes he could have found the answer.

"It occurred to me that the tent we currently use to protect the Portman Road playing surface from extremely cold conditions could equally be used in areas of high temperatures by replacing the warm air blowers with a chiller unit. In effect, you would then air condition your pitch," he said.

"I've seen several images of the new stadiums. There are some spectacular designs – and that's great," said the Blues' groundsman.

"But it seems as the tournament approaches, more attention is being paid to the actual playing surface and that must be good for all involved."

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