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By ESPN Staff

Moscow to host Champions League final on natural grass

MOSCOW, Oct 5 (Reuters) - The 2008 Champions League final, to be held at Moscow's Luzhniki stadium, will be played on natural grass, Russian soccer officials said on Thursday.

'At UEFA's request the final will be played on natural grass,' Vyacheslav Koloskov, a member of European governing body UEFA's executive committee and honorary president of the Russian Football Union, told local media. 'So we will have the new grass turf laid out at least two months before the May final.'

The 84,745-seat arena, which has an artificial turf, was awarded the 2008 final of Europe's most prestigious club competition by UEFA's executive committee on Wednesday.

Last week it became the first ground to stage a Champions League group match on a synthetic surface when Spartak Moscow drew 1-1 with Sporting Lisbon.

Luzhniki chairman Vladimir Alyoshin said: 'We will abide by all UEFA's decisions for the Champions League final. If grass is what everyone wants to play on, then it will be grass.'

The Luzhniki stadium, built in 1956, hosted the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the 1999 UEFA Cup final which was also played on grass.