Boavista is a football club with a proud history in Portugal, winning the Portuguese Liga title in 2001. The new Boavista stadium was built with a synthetic grass pitch, which featured in the UEFA "Euro 2004" tournament.
Synthetic grass is manufactured from synthetic fibers made to look like natural grass. It is most often used in sports arenas for maintenance reasons - it resists heavy use better, and requires no irrigation or trimming.
Synthetic grass is particularly suitable in environments which are hostile to natural grass. For instance, an arid climate (the dust bowl phenomenon) or a cold weather climate (the risk of a frozen pitch). In 2008, Boavista were looking for a sub-soil material allowing efficient drainage, and Harsco recommended EAF slag sourced from the local National Steel Maia steel mill.
The slag material used has low water absorption properties, allowing efficient drainage of the pitch. Following sample analysis and further testing, the slag was applied in base and sub-base layers and the synthetic grass was laid on top. The project required 10 000 tonnes of slag, including the main stadium pitch and two practice pitches.
The Boavista pitch was completely relayed in time for the start of the 2009/10 season. Following the success of the Boavista project, Harsco has since supplied the Luso Football Club in Barreiro, Lisbon, using slag sourced from the Lusosider Acos Planos steel mill in nearby Seixal.