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

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

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.

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  

image.jpg the goto site for sports surfaces testing equipment

STE the only dedicated sports surfaces testing equipment supplier, launch their new web site today. An easy to use platform which allows you to purchase what you need online. Alternatively if you require further information you can make an enquiry for the specialist equipment that you have questions about.

Whether you want to buy an infill depth gauge or a AAA device STE can help you with your needs. Quick delivery times and a dedicated set up with the more complex items. Simply go to for the most competitive quality equipment on the market.

 Depth probe for the measurement of infill depth

Ball roll ramps essential in the maintenance of 3G surfaces

HIC equipment for testing playgrounds                                           

Testing buggy

FIFA eyes new testing manual for football turf in 2015

FIFA announce significant changes on the way...... FIFA are always striving to evolve the testing and evaluation of football turf systems so that football turf fields which are certified are the best turf systems available and in as far as is possible the quality concept represents real life wear and performance.

The changes, which are coming mid 2015 mainly affect the testing of artificial turf systems under Laboratory conditions, this will ultimately of course affect the certification of pitches.

Changes to testing protocols

Researchers and Laboratories have been working on new equipment and testing methodologies in conjunction with FIFA to develop existing tests or introduce new testing equipment and protocols.

In this iteration of the manual FIFA are concentrating on;

Performance in Hot conditions – providing a classification for turf systems incorporating performance infill

Wear – a new lisport referred to as lisport XL will be used to prepare samples

Skin friction – a new method of evaluating skin friction

Splash – a new test method for evaluating and classifying performance infill splash

New requirement “placement of goal posts”

Inclusion of run-off areas in field testing area

FIFA will also rebrand the 1 star and two star categories currently well known into 'FIFA Quality and FIFA Quality Pro'. National Federations/Associations will be allowed to have a national standard which will embrace the FQC but will be known as 'FIFA Pro plus'  here interests peculiar to an MA can be included in the testing requirements for certified pitches - more details are to follow on this so watch this space.


Future developments will include in the World Cup cycle 2015 to 2018 will include;

Player surface interaction tests – a new test for traction

AAA more realistic - must simulate player surface interaction in a more realistic fashion

Skin friction method - new method of testing

Energy restitution - fatigue, a study on how the surface affects fatigue in a player.

Further updates will be issued at the end of January.

Infill Splash; Conclusion from study

Image Infill Splash Research Sports Labs in conjunction with Napier University in Edinburgh have been researching the issue of infill [rubber] splash in 3G Football Turf systems. The purpose of the research was to produce a test method to assess the infill splash of filled 3G systems. The test should be able to measure the splash and rank systems in terms of low to high degrees of splash and characterize the splash in terms of the issues this may cause to television viewing.

The test was set up to look at ball/surface interaction and not player surface interaction, the theory being that the ball surface test may to some extent simply identify systems prone to splash whether ball or person interface is the mode of impact. This assumption as yet has not been tested by Sports Labs and may form the subject of further future research.

As with all research projects, this tends to pose more questions some of these questions will be discussed in the coming weeks.

Principal Conclusions from Research

  • The amount of free pile (pile exposed above the infill) affects the amount of infill splash, high values of free pile reduces infill splash.
  • A firm substrates [stone, asphalt] does reduces infill splash, shock pads in a direct comparison increase infill splash values.
  • A thatch pile within an artificial turf does not reduce infill splash.
  • Pile density does influence infill splash; higher density artificial turf does influence infill splash positively.
  • Green coloured infill is less obtrusive then black SBR when filmed under test.
  • The grading and shape of the infill does not appear to influence the degree of infill splash.
  • 40mm pile height artificial turf appears to have high infill splash values.

Clearly it would be useful to test systems which purport to be low splash in the next phase of the study. Also it would be helpful to have other Labs to use the test to assess inter Laboratory reproducibility following on from this. We will make some improvements to the test when it is introduced to the Lab for general evaluation again these will be discussed in the coming weeks.