The artificial turf at Aloha Stadium has been certified for this month’s Pro Bowl, an NFL spokesman said today.
A site survey was conducted earlier this week by a specialist hired by the league and, “The Aloha Stadium field has passed inspection,” Brian McCarthy, NFL Vice President of Communications, told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an email.
The NFL routinely inspects the field and other aspects of the facility in advance of its annual all-star game, which will be played Jan. 31.
The condition of the field became a source of controversy last month when the U. S. Women’s National Team’s Dec. 6 exhibition soccer match against Trinidad and Tobago was abruptly canceled less than 24 hours before the event by U. S. Soccer, which cited concerns about the field.
U.S. Soccer has been embroiled in a dispute with players on the women’s team over preference shown its men’s teams, who do not play on artificial surfaces as often.
Cancelation of the match has prompted a class-action lawsuit by ticket purchasers in state court, and the State Attorney General’s Office said it is conducting a review.
Football teams from the University of Cincinnati and San Diego State subsequently practiced and played on the field in the nationally-televised Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve without complaint.
McCarthy said, “As in all NFL venues, grooming and maintenance will continue under the supervision of an NFL groundsperson until after the game. This is standard procedure and consistent with all venues utilized, including the Hall of Fame game and the International Series.”
Don Follett, Baltimore Ravens Head Groundskeeper/Senior Director of Fields & Grounds is expected to oversee the field for the Pro Bowl.
An Aloha Stadium spokesman declined comment, citing the pending lawsuit. But last month, Aloha Stadium manager Scott Chan told the Stadium Authority, he expects the facility “will be vindicated” in the soccer controversy.