KNVB visit Sports Labs

We were delighted to welcome Patrick Balemans Adviseur Accommodatiezaken for the KNVB. It was great to show him around our fantastic facilities here in Scotland and discuss innovation, testing and research.

We look forward to continuing our relationship as innovation partner with the KNVB.

Sports Labs Hands Over Vinny Murray Pitch to Clongowes Wood College

Sports Labs Hands Over Vinny Murray Pitch to Clongowes Wood College

The state-of-the-art facility was blessed by the Rector, Fr Michael Sheil SJ before the purple- ribbon was cut by Clongowes four most recent rugby internationals, Gordon D’Arcy, Rob and Dave Kearney, and Fergus McFadden. The Vinny Murray Pitch or VMP – as it is known – was named in memory of the late Assistant Headmaster and legendary rugby coach, who passed away in 1999. Saturday’s event was bracketed between a Junior and a Senior match against Campbell College, Belfast and followed some words of introduction, reminiscence and celebration from the Headmaster, Mr Chris Lumb.

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Educational seminar on selecting the best hockey surfaces for your facility

“An educational and informative evening for Directors of Sport, Bursars, Hockey Coaches, Clubs, Facilities Managers, Leisure Trust Managers and other investors in sport facilities"

If you want to know more about artificial hockey surfaces from how the different surfaces influence play to selecting the best surface for your facility you should attend. Learn about how the surface influences play, what systems are available, procurement, funding and much more.


learn how to select the best surface for your facility

learn how to select the best surface for your facility

Outline and Overview of workshop

Speaker – Welcome by Jim Macalister WHM

Hockey surfaces – from a player/coach and practioners perspective

19:05 - 19:25 Session one

An international coach’s take on how hockey surfaces influence elite play, Speaker – Gavin Featherstone International Hockey Coach                          

Hockey surfaces – from an elite coach’s perspective

19:25 – 19:45 Session two

Harry has a wealth of experience in developing hockey on artificial pitches, Speaker – Harry Dunlop                                                                                          

Hockey surfaces – from a Consultant’s perspective

19:45 – 20:05 Session three

Procuring the best surfaces for hockey – best practice, Speaker Eric O’Donnell                                                                                           

Coffee/drinks - networking                                                                                                              

20:05 - 21:00                                                                                            [Total time 55mins]

The Hockey workshop is sponsored by Sports Labs and WH Malcom

Save the date: 13th November 2017 @ 7:00pm - Dakota Hotel Eurocentral To register please email

IAAF World Championship 2017

Sports Labs were proud to be chosen to test/certify the track at the London World Championship 2017. A little piece of the massive jigsaw that it is to put this global event on!

Craig Melrose assessing the shock absorption of the London Track prior to the World Championships

Craig Melrose assessing the shock absorption of the London Track prior to the World Championships

ISBA Independant School Bursar's conference

Sports Labs attended the annual Bursar's conference in Manchester, England this week. This conference brings together all the Bursar's around the UK and Ireland (some overseas too) to discuss current issues facing this sector of education. 

Sports Labs had a busy time at this conference taking to many Schools about refurbishing old pitches, building new ones. There was a lot of interest in athletics this year as well as tennis and netball.

We will be following up on all these enquiries in the coming weeks


Lewis, Keith and David ready to assist the Bursar's with all their enquiries! 

'One Turf Concept' guidance now issued

‘One Turf Concept’ agreed by rugby, soccer and hockey

World Rugby, FIFA and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) have developed a ground-breaking protocol for multi-surface playing fields that could revolutionise how shared sports grounds are used and enjoyed around the world.

After many years working together on this project, including detailed discussions with industry leaders, the three federations have managed to balance player welfare and performance with playability for an initiative named ‘One Turf Concept’. While it is specific to multi-sport venues, the concept can also be applied to any artificial turf sports field not designed to comply with a specific sport-based requirement.

The federations will continue to work with manufacturers and test laboratories in refining standards so as to increase the performance and longevity of the playing fields, which are so important to rugby, soccer and hockey, especially at the community level where available space and finances may be limited.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “This is a fantastic example of cross-sport co-operation that will benefit grass-roots sport all over the world. While the elite level of each code has a distinct need that often requires its own specific playing surface, 99 per cent of players fall outside that professional, elite group and have different requirements. 

“Along with FIFA and FIH, we recognise that the promotion of multi-sport facilities is a cornerstone of the development of our sports in both established and new markets. It is also recognised that the key performance measure of these fields should be focussed on player welfare and, as always, that is our number-one priority. Those seeking to provide safe and high-quality facilities are often in an environment where space and money are limited.”

FIH Director of Sport and Development David Luckes said: “While short-pile products are preferred for hockey, the FIH recognises that this partnership can aid development by providing opportunities to play hockey on surfaces where there are no alternatives. This is particularly important in developing nations where many sports can join together to share facilities.”

The industry, in the form of the European Synthetic Turf Organisation (ESTO) and the Synthetic Turf Council (STC), supports the initiative as a basis for the design and development of a sports facility.

The ‘One Turf Concept’ is separated into three parts, and should be consulted depending on the age of the field considered. For existing fields, it gives an overview of the minimum performance requirements that should be achieved by the field to ensure it addresses the player interaction requirements for a multi-sport surface. It also gives guidance on the ball interaction requirements that should be achieved.

For facilities considering installing a new field or replacing their existing field, the ‘One Turf Concept’ includes:

  • Player performance and ball interaction requirements as detailed above. 
  • Guidance on ensuring the longevity of the field through undertaking laboratory testing which simulates the wear and degradation of the individual elements due to climatic conditions.
  • Identification tests to ensure that the surface tested in the laboratory matches that installed on the field.
  • Guidance for those fields looking to achieve certification from one or more international federation with the identification of additional requirements that are insisted upon by each individual federation.

World Rugby, FIFA and FIH recognise the importance of the implementation of a regular and comprehensive maintenance regime to ensure that any artificial turf field continues to perform as intended throughout its lifetime. Adherence to the ‘One Turf Concept’ or to the individual performance requirements set out by the individual federations is unlikely to be achieved over the full potential life of the product without proper maintenance. The ability of a surface to achieve these standards should be measured through initial testing, performed when the surface has been installed, and regular testing throughout its lifetime.

Full details of the ‘One Turf Concept’ including extensive research data specific to artificial turf for rugby can be found HERE.

European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) issued a report that "found no reason to advise people against playing sports on synthetic turf containing recycled rubber granules as infill material."

SBR rubber granulate has been the subject of vociferous speculation regarding its potential toxicity to soccer players using artificial pitches containing this infill  

SBR rubber granulate has been the subject of vociferous speculation regarding its potential toxicity to soccer players using artificial pitches containing this infill  

In June 2016, the European Commission asked the ECHA to evaluate any risk to the general population, including children, professional players and workers installing or maintaining the fields from synthetic turf fields with recycled rubber infill. The ECHA's advice is based on their evaluation that there is "a very low level of concern from exposure to substances found in the granules."

The ECHA found that the concern for players and workers for lifetime cancer is very low, for metals is negligible and for phthalates, benzothiazole and methyl isobutyl ketone there are no concerns. The ECHA also noted that their conclusions are consistent with those found in the recent Dutch RIVM and Washington State studies. 

A copy of the report can be found here:

Washington State Dept of Health conclude "artificial pitches containing rubber crumb does not cause cancer in soccer players"


Yesterday the Washington State Department of Health (WA DOH) published one of the most detailed reports available on this issue concluding that there is no elevated risk of cancer among soccer players who play on artificial turf fields. As many of you know, the WA DOH two-year study was prompted by University of Washington Coach Amy Griffin's list of soccer players in the state with cancer. 

The report found: "We did not find the number of cancers among soccer players, select and premier players, or goalkeepers reported to the project team to be higher than expected based on Washington cancer rates for people of the same ages. Based on what we know today, the Washington State Department of Health recommends that people who enjoy soccer continue to play regardless of the type of field surface."

Link to report: