Condition of Mexico City field a concern ahead of Chiefs-Rams game

Events such as a Shakira concert in October have left Azteca Stadium in Mexico City in less than optimal condition.
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MEXICO CITY — The abused hybrid grass of Azteca Stadium is generating concerns for its poor condition a week before it hosts an NFL regular-season game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams.

Last May, stadium authorities changed the surface from natural to hybrid. But intense activity on the field in the last few months has prevented the grass from reaching an optimum state.

“The field is not in the best condition, and that concerns me for the next tournament,” said Cruz Azul’s coach, Pedro Caixinha. “We all know that it’s not right, that it has not been right and that it will not be all right, but those are the circumstances, and if we can help, we will do it.”

Cruz Azul and America are the local teams playing in Azteca.

“We are working closely with the field manager at Azteca Stadium and others to ensure that we have an NFL-quality surface for our game,” NFL spokesman Michael Signora told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Caixinha spoke Saturday after Cruz Azul beat Lobos in the 16th round of the Apertura tournament despite playing on a surface in bad shape, especially on the north side, where a concert took place last Wednesday.

On Aug. 16, stadium authorities admitted that the field was not in good shape and promised to improve it shortly. By September, the hybrid grass showed progress for a match between Cruz Azul and Atlas, but it regressed in October. A couple of concerts by the Colombian singer Shakira caused damage and it has not improved since.

Arturo Olive, director of the NFL office in Mexico, said recently he was not concerned about the state of the field and that NFL personnel were working along with groundskeepers from Azteca to get it right for the game.