'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: https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/13563/annex-xv_report_rubber_granules_en.pdf/dbcb4ee6-1c65-af35-7a18-f6ac1ac29fe4

SAPCA annual dinner and awards - Sports Labs shortlisted for award

Sports Labs were shortlisted and commended for an award by SAPCA for the innovative rolling straight edge device invented to allow contractors to test sub base constructions assuring 100% of the surface is examined and signed off. Sports Labs Ltd leading innovation in the sports surfaces industry.


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FIFA Goal Projects: Chad

Sports Labs were fortunate enough to be awarded the FIFA Goal project in Chad, Africa. Our role is to inspect/test the 3G pitch to assess whether or not it meet the FIFA applied criteria for a certified facility.

The FIFA Goal projects Support FIFA member association’s growth by providing them, when needed, with the resources to jumpstart their development by implementing key football projects. Since 1999 and the creation of the Goal programme, FIFA has funded and concluded more than 1 000 football projects over the world.

These projects can be very challenging however Edel Grass the FIFA Preferred Producer who was awarded the contract delivered a first class facility. 

3G pitches and cancer scare

There has been a lot of press recently about the supposed link between playing on 3G pitches and the likelihood or otherwise of being exposed to a cancer risk. There is overwhelming research suggesting there is no link and this is infact an old story which the UK press have got hold of from 2014.

That said as responsible designers, specifiers and testers Sports Labs want to offer owners, Local Authorities, Clubs, School, Leisure Trusts, Facilities Management Companies a way of identifying any risk that they may perceive is associated with the use of 3G pitches containing black SBR rubber crumb. The only sure way to assess the risk is to TEST IT!

If you would like one of our engineers to come to your pitch and obtain samples which can be analysed to determine the risks posed by playing on your pitch then give us a call. If you want to make an equiry by email then email louise@sportslabs.co.uk.

Meggetland, Edinburgh - irrigation being installed on the upgrade of the sand dressed pitch to a water based pitch

The big dig continues at Meggetland to install the new irrigation on-site. Ecosse Sports battling the recent Scottish Winter (blowing a hooley and raining for days on end) to get this one done by the end of the year!

 

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This shot highlights the existing macadam with the ring main excavation ongoing!

FIFA to issue new manual next week

FIFA will issue the new Handbook of Requirements and the Handbook of test methods for the FIFA quality concept for football turf. 

This much talked about update has involved some radical changes to the preparation and evaluation of football turf for FIFA certification.

 The new manuals will be available for download next week we will post a link. 

The new manuals will be available for download next week we will post a link. 

The new FIFA quality pro and FIFA quality perhaps making a clearer distinction between community and pro fields this is a welcomed change.  A new Lisport XL is making it debut and new tests for infill splash, heat on surfaces and yarns for UV and thickness to name just some of the changes in this a fairly significant overhaul of the 2012 version.

Sports Labs will be providing a detailed communique on the changes early next week or better still come see us on our stand at FSB next week.

Long Throws Test Bed - ready for action

The first hammers will be flying onto the demonstration area at Crownpoint Track next week!  This experimental surface has been designed to test the ability of artificial turf to deal with hammers and javelins impacting the surface. Watch this space for results. 

 

 Test bed in good shap for the trials

Test bed in good shap for the trials

 Test bed ready for action at the new track at Crownpoint

Test bed ready for action at the new track at Crownpoint