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Thursday, 21 August 2014

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Cumbrian company's contract to create training pitch for Barcelona stars

Barcelona's top football stars – David Villa, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi – are showing off their silky skills on a pitch made by a west Cumbrian firm.

George Mullan photo
George Mullan

Support In Sport (SIS), based on Maryport’s Glasson Industrial Estate, were awarded the contract to install the training pitch for European football champions Barcelona.

SIS won the deal ahead of major multi-national firms in the sports surfacing field.

The appointment of SIS by the European and World Club Champions is testament to the company’s impeccable record in Spain over the last 12 months where they have already installed three pitches for La Liga clubs.

SIS has already installed the home-ground pitch at Bernabeu for Real Madrid, as well as pitches at the Madrid Training Centre. The company has also installed pitches for two other La Liga clubs – Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao.

The Barcelona project involved resurfacing one of the clubs training pitches with 8,500 sq m of natural grass from the company’s purpose-grown turf farm in Germany.

The pitch was completed in a record 48 hours thanks to a unique piece of equipment – invented and custom built by SIS – called the Sisavator.

The machine is the only type of machine in the world that allows a pitch to be removed down to a depth of 10cm in nine hours.

The pitch was then laser levelled so the team could train on it.

George Mullan, chief executive officer of SIS, said: “Winning this contract with Barcelona is testament to everyone in SIS and the work of our natural grass team led by Phil Blackwell and Ton Roosendaal.

“SIS continues to expand in Spain as well as our other markets around Europe and Africa.”

In 2008, the first all-English UEFA Champions League Final between Manchester United and Chelsea was played on a Moscow pitch installed by SIS.

The firm has also designed and constructed sports surfaces in places across the continent for some of Europe’s leading clubs, including Manchester United, Glasgow Celtic, Ajax and Benfica.

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