Arena fixing rug to end surface tension $30,000 spent in response to MSL


Baltimore Blast general manager John Borozzi said yesterday that $30,000 has been spent in an attempt to bring the Baltimore Arena carpet up to Major Soccer League standards.

Borozzi was responding to a report in yesterday's editions of The Evening Sun that the Blast had been put on notice by the league about the poor condition of the carpet.

Borozzi said yesterday that the team turned over ownership of the carpet to Centre Management before the start of this season and "it's up to them to maintain it."

"The building [Centre Management] has worked very hard the past two weeks to bring the carpet up to league standards," Borozzi said. "They burned out three machines sewing it after the glue was not adhering to the surface."

Borozzi said MSL referees Julio Salas and Toros Kibritjian inspected the newly sewn carpet Saturday night before the Blast game against the San Diego Sockers.

"Toros said there was a noticeable improvement from before," said Borozzi. "I asked him if he were going to give a favorable report to the commissioner [Earl Foreman], and he said he didn't know. I do think he wasn't satisfied with how the lines were aligned on one side of the field."

Borozzi said the carpet is 7 years old and the problems stem not from the wear and tear from the players on the field, but from an original cutting error when the carpet was put down.

"Baltimore city was in charge of the building when the carpet was purchased, and they took the carpet down to the Convention Center to cut and paste it together on a regular surface," said Borozzi. "Then they brought it back and put it on the ice at the Arena and it fit like a glove at first. But the next morning it had shrunk by 6 inches. That caused the center to bubble and the Velcro to wear out sooner on the sides. Also, it doesn't help matters taking it up and down all the time."

Borozzi said it would cost $80,000 to replace the carpet.

Foreman said yesterday that he had sent a letter to the Blast "putting them on notice" about the problems with the carpet.

"It [carpet] is a serious problem," said Foreman. "It keeps coming up, and there are ripples. I'm concerned about the safety of the players in the league."

Foreman said he was trying to be "reasonable" with Baltimore before taking any action.

"As long as they are in the process of getting it straightened out, I'll be satisfied," said the commissioner. "I know there's a problem between the Blast and the people who own the carpet."

When asked whether he had ordered Baltimore to get a new carpet, he said: "That depends on what can be done [with the old carpet]. That's a decision they [Blast] have to make."

In regard to possible action against the Blast if the carpet isn't repaired or a new one isn't purchased, Foreman said: "I've reduced it to writing. I shouldn't have to say any more."

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