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Turf137, football’s new address

The bond between football and Chennai is getting stronger by the day. While Chennaiyin FC started the football revolution in the city, many academies and play-areas have cropped up catering to the needs of the enthusiasts.

Turf137, football’s new address
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An ariel view of Turf137 and Insert: Thirukumaran Roopkumar (Photo: Manivasagam N)

Chennai

The latest play area to join the bandwagon — Turf137, the city’s first open area football ground, is making waves among youngsters. Situated near the bustling Phoenix Market City in the choc-abloc area of Velachery, Turf137 is the brainchild of Thirukumaran Roopkumar. They have used materials approved by the football’s governing body, FIFA, to build the turf. 

“The idea cropped up during a casual lunch meet and it didn’t sink in then. But when I visited another football play area, I decided that there should be no afterthought. In a matter of one week, the idea and the design was conceptualised and in about three months, the facility is now up and running,” Roopkumar said. 

Roopkumar has imported the synthetic grass from Amsterdam from a popular dealer who has supplied it for various football grounds. “We zeroed in on the dealer after a lot of research. The top layer is 60mm and then the subsequent layers have different sizes of gravel and quarry dust. The top layer has a padding of 1.5 feet below it. It is safe for children to play and they can even fall flat on their face and escape without a scratch,” he added. 

Low maintenance adds to the easier cleaning process of the turf. “We just water the turf once in two days. There are pipelines at the bottom of the first layer that can hold water and the excess water is harvested in a well-designed rain-water harvesting system. We also don’t encourage players to wear spikes. It helps in keeping the place well-maintained,” Roopkumar added. 

Turf137 has changing rooms and a quick-shower place too. “The changing rooms can accommodate four people at a time. We have a shower area, where a player can have a shower in less than two minutes. We also have benches that can act like dug-outs too,” the owner said. 

The city’s I-League team, Chennai City FC inaugurated Turf137 with a five-a-side match. Teams who intend to play can book a slot through Turf137’s Facebook app and Roopkumar charges Rs. 2,000 per hour in the mornings, Rs. 1,500 per hour for the afternoon slots while for the evenings, they charge Rs. 2,500. The facility is open from 5 am to 2 am on all days. 

Roopkumar has chalked out an activity for people who love watching football and not playing too. “When international matches of huge importance happen, we are planning to telecast them on a big screen here and people can bring their picnic mats and baskets and enjoy the proceedings,” he concluded.

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