New Spurs stadium to include retractable dividing pitch

New Spurs stadium to include retractable dividing pitch

The construction project to build a new stadium for Tottenham Hotspur football club at White Hart Lane in north London will include the first dividing retractable pitch in the world.

When the new stadium is completed, it will have a grass pitch that can be retracted in three parts on rollers that will use three long runners to take the surface outside the stadium. Underneath it will be an artificial pitch that can be used to stage American Football. 

Tottenham Hotspur hope to bring in extra revenue using this revolutionary design by staging two NFL games a season. At present, Wembley and Twickenham host regular season games as the sport attempts to increase its appeal in the UK. The artificial pitch could also host other events such as concerts, with the grass surface suffering no damage as a result of such activities. 

The design and construction of the stadium makes this possible by allowing space for the rollers to be fitted under the stands, so that the pitch can slide out. 

Engineering specialists SCX, based in Sheffield, will install the pitch. The firm said: "The turf soccer pitch sits in three trays. These separate and then slide into position below the south stand and southern podium."

The company has already produced sliding apparatus technology for sporting construction projects, having made the retractable roofs for the Centre Court and Number One Court at Wimbledon that allow tennis to continue even when it rains.

Director of Operations and Finance for the football club Matthew Collecott said: "SCX has a proven track record in delivering innovative solutions and this bespoke pitch mechanism will allow our new stadium to host a range of major events in addition to Tottenham Hotspur matches, as we strive to create a venue that is a hive of activity all year round."

The first retractable structure at any major UK sports ground was the roof over the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, which hosts major football and rugby matches. The venue was built on the site of the old Cardiff Arms Park ahead of the 1999 Rugby World Cup.

White Hart Lane is similarly being redeveloped, with the new stadium set to contain over 60,000 seats, compared with the previous capacity of just 36,000.