Posted on Thursday 28 June 2012 by Ulster Business

Olympic Stadium Kiev 2

It might be a distant dream to see Northern Ireland or the Republic winning the European football championships, but one local firm has played a key role in making this weekend’s Euro 2012 final possible.

Played at the state of the art 70,050 capacity Olympic Stadium in Ukraine's capital Kiev and in front of a worldwide TV audience of millions, the match will unfold on a playing surface constructed by Co Armagh-based Clive Richardson Limited (CRL).

The Ukraine government last year commissioned CRL, who are specialists in sports ground construction and civil engineering works, to deliver a first class pitch at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev as well as the FC Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv.

With over 40 years experience of building pitches across Northern Ireland and around the world, Portadown-headquartered CRL secured the contracts following a competitive tendering process.

To deliver two state of the art pitches to meet the required standard for the European Championships, more than 15 engineers from CRL spent much of the last twelve months living in Ukraine experiencing sub zero temperatures of -25C.

Clive Richardson, founder and Managing Director, said of the latest contract wins: “Following on from our highly acclaimed work at the European Championships we are already in discussions with FIFA to undertake work at the next World Cup.

“The economic downturn in Ireland has spurred the company to seek opportunities further afield. The two projects in Ukraine created an additional 20 jobs at CRL alone. Our success in tendering demonstrates the growing reputation the business has in both domestic and international markets.”

CRL employs 180 people across four sites in Annaghmore, Dublin, Sheffield and Horsham and has turnover of £15m.

The company has constructed pitches at numerous sporting facilities in Northern Ireland, notably the reconstruction of Croke Park in Dublin following the U2 concert there in 2009 and development of the pitch at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin in 2010.

In addition it has constructed the training grounds for Premier League Football clubs including Manchester United and Fulham as well as England’s Euro 2012 training pitch at Hutnik in Poland.

Clive Richardson added: “The success of projects in Ireland cemented our reputation as a world leader in sports surface construction… Euro 2012 is one of our most high profile projects completed to date. We have continued to invest in our ability to manufacture and install complex pitch climate control systems and have left a great legacy in both Kiev and Kharkov which has always been one of UEFA’s key objectives for bringing the competition to Ukraine in the first place. Our reputation as a world leader in our industry following involvement in one of the biggest sporting events in 2012 will ensure we continue to go from strength to strength.”

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