Fake grass at BMO turfed

STEVEN SANDOR, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:38 AM ET

Saturday is an off day for Toronto FC's players. But it will be a busy weekend in the front office, as work begins on having a grass surface installed at BMO Field.

City council approved Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.'s proposal to have grass ready for the 2010 Toronto FC home opener by a 29-0 count.

"The work will begin Oct. 2 (tomorrow)," MLSEL spokesman Rajani Kamath said. "The physical work will begin after the season ends."

The process that begins tomorrow will be the planning and engineering needed to get the grass in. TFC will need to be on the FieldTurf for its final two regular-season home games, Oct. 10 against San Jose and Oct. 17 against Real Salt Lake. If TFC can snatch a wild-card playoff spot, there will be at least one more home playoff date.

MLSEL will spend a total of $5.5 million putting in the grass, transforming Lamport Stadium into a year-round soccer facility -- with a bubble for the winter months -- and adding an artificial-turf field at Lakeshore Collegiate Institute.

To satisfy its original agreement with the city, MLSEL needed to provide a year-round soccer facility for the community to replace the one at BMO Field.

The city still has the right to use the stadium for any events it sees fit during the Canadian National Exhibition.

HOME OPENER DELAYED

The league already has announced that TFC's first two games of the 2010 season -- the opener March 27 against Columbus and an April 10 date with New England -- will be played on the road, to allow more time for BMO Field to have the grass ready. No date has been set for TFC's home debut on the green stuff.

Even with the scheduling break from the league, Kamath said it will be a challenge to have the new surface ready.

"Tight timelines -- but we will be ready for the start of 2010 MLS season," he said.

STEVEN.SANDOR@SUNMEDIA.CA


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