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

'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

University of Pretoria; Mondo track going down fast at TUKS

UJSports Labs are assisting Sedtrade - the main contractor installing the track by performing key stage inspections and testing on the various phases of the refurbishment of the track at TUKS-sports. The refurbishment is fast approaching the final hurdle and surfacing should be complete early this week. Once the line markings are down the track will be put back into commission providing SA with a track to match that being installed at the Rio Olympics.

The Mondo track nearing completion at TUKS - the lanes are two tone with two tone D's

Brescia House School - Johannesburg making excellent progress

Brescia House School has embarked on a new water based artificial hockey pitch project. The facility will provide the School with a top class training facility.

Sub grade ready for sub base application  

Sub grade ready for sub base application  

The project was designed, specified and procured by UJSports Labs which resulted in the project being awarded in January through a competitive tendering process. 

Greenfields/Belgotex were appointed to take the project forward.

we will post regular updates on this as the project advances.

FIFA issue 2015 Test Method and Requirements Manual for the FIFA Quality Concept

FIFA the world governing body of football has issued a major update of its Quality Concept for Football Turf. Both the handbook of test methods and requirements have been revised. These are the test methods and requirements, which regulate the use of artificial turf in the game. The updated manuals contain new tests and new requirements all aimed at enhancing the performance and durability of artificial turf used for the elite – FIFA Quality Pro and community FIFA Quality aspects of the game.

A new accelerated wear machine called the Lisport XL, which is used to condition the samples under tests by aging them by wear is significantly, ball roll is now done on these samples.

This is a game changer for preferred producers and licencees who manufacture these type of products, in effect meaning that all the previous registered ‘systems’ that FIFA have recorded (some 1600) will now need to be at least in part re-examined within a year.

New tests to perform the laboratory examination of samples infill splash and the heating properties of the turf system have been added. Also new tests for the measurement of the thickness of yarns have been added. Tests must now be performed on all coloured turf samples – therefore all line marking colours will need to be tested just like the parent green turf system. Here are the other new tests/changes;

·      Method for the measurement of free pile height

·      Method for the measurement of infill depth

·      Method for the determination of UV stabiliser content in yarns

·      Method for clarification of the particle size distribution measurement

·      Method for clarification for the measurement of differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)

·      Method for clarification for the measurement of yarn decitex

·      Method for clarification of product identification on woven carpet products

·      Method for clarification of porosity testing on artificial turf systems

·      Method for clarification of yarn thickness measurement

·      The following tests have been removed from the handbook of test methods:

·      Stud slide and stud deceleration removed from laboratory testing

·      Wear simulation with lisport removed from laboratory testing

·      All products used for field markings (lines and logos where applicable) need to be tested as independent products.

·      Only one specific product may be used per field. No combination of different products (different colours, yarn compositions or other) may be used on one single field.

·      Tighter requirements for product test in the laboratory

·      Recommendations for the testing of run-off areas (both with natural and artificial playing surfaces) have been included in this handbook

Category-specific changes


·      A new method to assess infill splash has been introduced for this level of the game

·      Requirement relating to the quality of lines, goals and all relevant playing equipment have been included in the test institute assessment

·      Performance tests in the laboratory after 3020 cycles on the lisport XL including reduced ball roll

·      Ball roll requirements for re-tests reduced from 10m to 8m


·      Performance tests in the laboratory after 6020 cycles on the lisport XL including reduced ball roll

Further information on both the handbook of test methods and the handbook of requirements can be downloaded via these links




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

Long Throws Test Bed nearing completion!

The long throws test bed has had the artificial turf laid and is in the process of being filled.   The Greenfields woven MX carpet will be ready for testing next week to coincide with the opening of the Crownpoint Track which has just had the ex Commonwealth Games track laid. 

Test bed nearly ready for action - 7kg hammers will be slamming into the surface! 

Test bed nearly ready for action - 7kg hammers will be slamming into the surface! 

The project was funded by Glasgow Life, the IAF Foundation, UK Athletics, Greenfields and Sports Labs.

FIFA Goal Project – National Football Training Centre, Lesotho

FIFA Goal Project – National Football Training Centre, Lesotho

UJSportslabs recently travelled to Lesotho to conduct FIFA 1 Star performance testing on a newly installed football turf. The main reason FIFA insist on these tests is to ensure the safety of players and quality of the installation of the football turf. The football turf is the first of its kind in Lesotho and is one of many Goal projects currently being funded by FIFA throughout Africa.

The artificial turf manufactured is Edel Grass a FIFA Preferred Producer using it's Superblade 50 SB-S carpet filled with silica sand and SBR. The installation was carried out by Mesut Okutucu from Edel Grass. Key to the lifespan of any football turf is regular maintenance. Maintenance equipment was provided and members of the community were trained to conduct the various maintenance requirements as part of the project. 

The community is very excited and happy with the new football turf! 

Overview of a nice installation

Overview of a nice installation


Further photo of Field

3D Printing at Sports Labs

3D printing the Lisport XL studded roller Inhouse. One of the benefits of owning a 3D printer - you can print your own spare part!


Printing the profiled roller