Report: Kraft willing to reinstall natural grass at Gillette for 2026 World Cup originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Not since a rain-soaked contest between the New England Patriots and New York Jets in 2006 has Gillette Stadium hosted a sporting event with natural grass.
Should Foxboro play host to some World Cup matches in 2026, however, the playing surface could be making a return.
U.S. & World
The Boston Globe reported Wednesday that in an effort to separate itself from other cities in the bidding, Robert Kraft is willing to bring back a real turf to Gillette to host six matches in the event which will feature host cities in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Foxboro Stadium hosted six matches in 1994, the last year the World Cup was played in the U.S. and also Kraft's first year of ownership in New England.
"We look forward to hosting, hopefully, six games here and the quarterfinals like we did back in ‘94 when we had Italy versus Spain," Kraft said at a press conference at Gillette Wednesday. "We look forward to the World Cup in 2026 coming right here to Gillette Stadium."
Kraft is honorary chair of the 2026 World Cup United Bid Group, according to the Globe, which has helped make Gillette a favorite among a list of 17 U.S. cities which will ultimately be whittled to 11.
FIFA representative Victor Montagliani, president of CONCACAF, said in Spanish at the press conference that Gillette is "a strong candidate."
It is unclear when Gillette would begin the process of reinstalling natural grass, nor if it would immediately revert to an artificial turf. The 2026 World Cup is scheduled to be held from June 8-July 3, wrapping up more than a month before the Patriots would be hosting a preseason game.