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|August 24, 2000||
Organisers play down soccer pitch woesScott McDonald in Sydney
Organisers of the Summer Olympics played down concerns on Thursday that the playing surfaces for the soccer tournament would not be ready in time for the Games next month.
Two of the six pitches to be used for the Olympic tournament have been relaid in the last two weeks and two more will be done in September.
"The only stadium that is a concern is Bruce Stadium in Canberra and the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) government is very confident that it will be sorted out," said Milton Cockburn, spokesman for the Sydney Olympic organising committee.
Bruce Stadium in Canberra had its playing surface relaid on August 10 with grass grown in Cairns in tropical north Queensland and local media have reported the grass has had problems adjusting to the chillier climate.
Cockburn said there was still time to relay the stadium, which seats 27,000, with grass from New South Wales if needed.
Grass was also relaid at the 40,000-seat Sydney Football Stadium (SFS) immediately after a rugby league game on Sunday, and Cockburn said there had been no problems.
"There is no concern about the SFS that the grass will not take," he said.
The first soccer games in Canberra are on September 13, two days before the Games officially open, when hosts Australia play Germany in a women's game, followed by a men's game between the United States and Czech Republic.
The main Olympic Stadium, which seats 110,000 and is the centrepiece of Sydney's sporting venues, will have its playing surface relaid immediately after the Opening Ceremony on September 15.
The men's soccer final will be played there on September 30.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground -- the centrepiece of the 1956 Olympics -- will be resurfaced after the Australian Football League final on September 3, with the first matches to be played on September 13.
Soccer will also be played at the 40,000-seat Brisbane Cricket Ground and at Hindmarsh Stadium in Adelaide, which will seat 15,000 for the games.
Both have had their seating increased but have not had to have new playing surfaces put down.
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