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The professional footballers in the Norwegian premier league (Tippeligæn) have named Valerenga’s ground the Pitch of the Year. The Ulleval Stadium is not only the home of Valerenga, but also of the Norwegian national team.

 

This year, the Norwegian professional footballers’ association NISO organized its first pitch rating competition. Each match round, the captain of every away team rated the pitch of the match his team had played. The rates go from 1 (poor condition) to 5 (top class). The Ulleval Stadium averaged a 4.47 and narrowly beat Rosenborg’s Lerkendal Stadium (4.40).

 

NISO president Joachim Walltin visited the Ulleval Stadium during Valerenga’s most recent match to hand over the award to groundsman (actually groundswoman), Hilde Taklo Knutzen.

 

‘We will make an annual tradition of this pitch rating competition’, said Walltin. ‘The quality of the pitch is very important for the player. This year’s results show that the best pitches in Norway score high on quality, that is good news for Norwegian football.’

 

In the Tippeligæn, six teams play their home matches on artificial turf. But the six best pitches all have natural grass. Tromso’s Alfheim stadium is the best rated artificial pitch (3,60).

 

‘For us these results show that the players prefer to play on a good quality grass pitch, compared to artificial turf’, concluded Walltin.

 

In a questionnaire done by NISO in April 2012, 73 percent of the top league players said they prefer to play on natural grass, 11 percent said they prefer artificial turf, and 16 percent of the players had no preference.

 

Arena (top 7) Average
1. Ulleval stadion (Valerenga) 4.47 (grass)
2. Lerkendal stadion (Rosenborg) 4.40 (grass)
3. Arasen stadion (Lillestrom) 4.33 (grass)
4. Aker Stadion  (Molde) 4.27 (grass)
5. Viking stadion (Viking) 4.27 (grass)
6. Fredrikstad stadion (Fredrikstad) 4.20 (grass)
7. Alfheim (Tromso) 3.60 (artificial)