Michigan State Approved for 2026 FIFA World Cup Turfgrass Facility

A FIFA-funded turfgrass testing facility that will make turf for more than a dozen stadiums for the next World Cup will be operated by Michigan State University.

The MSU Board of Trustees unanimously voted to build the testing facility, which will be a gift to the university after the 2026 FIFA World Cup. FIFA will fund and build the facility on MSU’s East Lansing campus which will be made available to university researchers and students.

fifaA recent story from the Lansing State Journal detailed how Michigan State University will be leaving its mark on the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Below is an excerpt from the Lansing State Journal story.

“We are excited about the work that’s going to happen here, excited for our faculty to be able to engage in cutting-edge research to support so many within the turfgrass space,” said Kelly Millenbah, dean of the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, at the Board of Trustees meeting.

MSU and the University of Tennessee will be developing and providing natural grass playing surfaces for 16 North American stadiums and practice facilities as part of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The work involves developing a turfgrass system that can be used in both domed and outdoor stadiums. while also making the grass playable for up to 60 days after it is installed.

MSU’s renowned turfgrass program over seven decades has boasted research programs involving golf courses, athletic fields and even home lawns, from construction to the management of the turfgrass.

Students who have participated in the program worked on projects, including the installation of a temporary grass surface in the former Pontiac Silverdome for the 1994 World Cup.

The World Cup returns to North America − United States, Canada and Mexico − in 2026 and will become the largest sporting event ever held, Bollman said in his memo. The number of teams in the final is expanding from 32 to 48, which requires more stadiums and practice facilities.

Construction of the turfgrass facility is expected to start in April and be mostly complete by June 2023, according to the memo.

To read the full story from the Lansing State Journal, click here.