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Man in charge of controversial SportsHub pitch resigns

SINGAPORE — Mr Greg Gillin, SportsHub Private Limited’s (SHPL) senior director of stadia, has confirmed he has resigned from his post and will officially leave the company on March 31.

Man in charge of controversial SportsHub pitch resigns

Mr Greg Gillin, SportsHub Private Limited’s (SHPL) senior director of stadia. TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — Mr Greg Gillin, SportsHub Private Limited’s (SHPL) senior director of stadia, has confirmed he has resigned from his post and will officially leave the company on March 31.

Among other things, the Australian was hired to oversee the National Stadium pitch and The New Paper yesterday reported he had quit in the wake of public criticisms of the poor quality of the grass surface at the S$1.33 billion facility’s centrepiece.

Mr Gillin, who previously headed the maintenance and operations of England’s Wembley Stadium, is back Down Under for the year-end holidays and speaking to TODAY, he confirmed his departure from the consortium running the Singapore Sports Hub. “I resigned 10 weeks ago and am serving six months notice. I hope to stay in Singapore and join another firm but have to see what is available.” He declined to reveal the reason he resigned as his contract has a non-disclosure clause.

When contacted, a spokesman from SHPL would only say: “We are not at liberty to discuss the status of our staff within the company.”

Mr Gillin has been under pressure to resolve the problems of the National Stadium’s DessoGrassMaster pitch, which is a blend of natural grass and artificial fibres that was supposed to be durable enough to withstand the rigours of intense activity.

After hosting non-sporting events such as the Singapore Chinese Orchestra performance and a Stefanie Sun concert in June and July, respectively, the pitch had failed to live to expectations.

The poor surface was first exposed during the Juventus vs Singapore tie in August and came under the international spotlight again in October during the Brazil vs Japan friendly, which was covered live globally.

To bring the pitch up to acceptable playing standards for the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup late last month, special lighting equipment worth S$1.5 million was brought in to stimulate the growth of the rye and blue grass seeds.

Other moves to aid the pitch saw a Jay Chou concert postponed from Nov 8 to Dec 27, and the cancellation of a rugby match between the Maori All Blacks and Asia Pacific Dragons on Nov 15.

A decision on whether SHPL will continue using the DessoGrassMaster or switch to another system is expected in the coming weeks.

On that matter, the SHPL spokesman reiterated that they are still studying several options and no decision has yet been made on a longer-term pitch solution for the National Stadium.

“We will continue to look at all options that will allow us to host a wide range of events we plan to stage at this multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue,” he said.

“The costs incurred in providing a robust solution are fully borne by SHPL.”

Mr Gillin was hired in April last year with a particular focus on ensuring the successful installation and maintenance of the field. His impending departure means SHPL must find a suitable replacement as the National Stadium is supposed to host year-round events that include non-sporting events.

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