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.

Banbridge District Council; new 3G pitch for Rathfriland High School

Rathfriland High School gets new 3G pitch Banbridge District Council commissioned a new 3G pitch at Rathfriland High School and Sports Labs Ltd, were fortunate enough to win the tender to offer consultancy services to the Council to deliver the project through a competitive tendering process organized by the Authority.

This particular project involved many differing disciplines such as; submission of planning application to the planning directorate, site investigation works to characterize the ground conditions and negotiation with the South East Library Boards/Sports NI to approve the format, size and position of the pitch on the site. Sports Labs Ltd prepared a detailed specification to tender to the market in NI, which Tony Patterson Contracts were successful in securing.

The photos show the completed construction of the pitch.



Tony Patterson Contracts were first class on this contract and delivered a high quality playing surface with a Fieldturf 60mm artificial turf product and shock pad.

The pitch will be used by the school and local community for football, rugby, gaelic games.

This was a challenging site which demanded great skill and care to develop, the result was a very high quality facility indeed.


Ben Corr, Head of Leisure, Banbridge District Council says, “We found Sports Labs very helpful, they offered excellent professional advice and support. They provided the Council with sound technical guidance and offered good value for money. I would have no hesitation in recommending them for similar projects.”

FIFA launch mini pitch guidance document

FIFA publish a guidance document for those intending to install mini pitches for football. The guidance document sets out the planning, design and operation of mini pitches with some very useful examples to get you thinking about the process, running and potential revenue which these type of facilities can realise. The main aim of the FIFA guide is the development of the game and this is not lost in the publication of this guidance document.

Click on the link here to get access to the full document;

Guide to Mini Football Pitches_E

Thanks to

Stuart Larman
Project Manager, Facilities and Income Generation
Member Associations & Development Division

Fédération Internationale de Football Association

 for allowing us access to this document.

UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH; Peffermill Playing Fields benefit from a new 3G Football/Rugby pitch

3 into 1 does go! Football/rugby on a 3G pitch, five-a-side, cricket


The University of Edinburgh at last has its 3G pitch it has so long needed at Peffermill Playing Fields. A longterm centre of excellence for hockey the new facility a wopping 10,000m2 + of high tech XP Pro 60mm artificial turf is truly a asset for this site. Work started on the plans for this two years ago with the original concept being a full size football pitch. However in a move which will open up the pitch to accommodate a more multi-sports approach the size pitch footprint was increased to accomodate rugby and perhaps a nine a side shinty a fantastic prospect for the site. Thanks to Sportscotland - cash back and the City of Edinburgh Council this facility was located at Peffermill. The feedback on what is an excellent facility has been very positive.

Jim Aitken Director of Sports always the champion of excellence in sport at the University was instrumental in bringing this facility fruition. It is thanks to his vision that the Peffermill site is now a unique international standard venue in the heart of Edinburgh.Image 1

The project was constructed by Greenfields a one of the premier specialist pitch contractors in Scotland. Tommy Angus acting as Project Manager for The University ensured that the project was delivered to the the requirements of Sportscotland, The City of Edinburgh and a onerous specification against what was the wettest summers in Scotland for 60 years. Sports Labs were the specialist pitch consultants for this project.

The project also involved converting redundant tennis courts into a five-a-side facility. Here the 'unusual' polymeric tennis courts provided a perfect shock pad for the five-a-side conversion. Once the tennis posts were grubbed out and repairs were carried out to the soon to be shock pad the base was ready to receive the new surface. The existing pad provided an opportunity to provide a durable 40mm pile height texturised artificial turf which in a five-a-side format means we have built in durability. One feature which is somewhat unusual about these pitches is that the dividing fencing is demountable [challenging to say the least].

The 'other' facility just to complete the project is the installation of 4 no. artificial cricket wickets affectionally know as non turf cricket wickets? These cater for an established cricket community using Peffermill and will replace the old tired wickets which are now in a bad state of repair.Image 3

Shock pads in 3G Turf; why you should have one!

We were recently asked to justify why we recommend shock pads in 3G pitch systems. We have been an advocate of their use for many years now even although a 3G turf will have sand and rubber infill which in theory will provide safety and performance to the playing surface. A shock pad will add if you will an 'insurance policy' for the Client perhaps this is why an educated Client may choose to go with one in their pitch.

Long-term performance Here research has shown that as a playing surface ages the performance of a 3G pitch deteriorates and can infact fall below the original specification requirements (FIFA, EN or IRB) within the first third of the life of the pitch. Here it has proven difficult to recover the pitch back to a position of compliance even with intensive maintenance.

A shock pad will protect the performance of the playing surface in the long-term where tests have shown that the playing surface even when worn will retain the principal performance parameters long into the last phase of the life of the artificial turf.

Compliance A shock pad is required to meet certain Global standards such as that issued by IRB. Many football turf fields are using shorter pile height artificial turf; where pile height falls below 50mm a shock pad is essential to meet FIFA requirements.

Multi sport Funding is very focused on providing multi sport facilities. The concept of funding a one sport field is no longer acceptable for publicly funded projects. Here the 'One Turf' concept is a finding a great deal of support in Sports Funding Bodies and Municipalities. Here football, rugby, lacrosse, games all are supported on an playing surface. In this case a shock pad would be required.

Maintenance Whilst the profile of maintenance has never been higher a large number of facilities within communities do not receive maintenance. A shock pad offers an opportunity to build in protection in terms of safety and performance.

Other areas have been promoted such as a shock pad reduces maintenance by virtue of keeping the fill mobile, reduces refurbishment costs and regulates the energy restitution of the playing surface.

There are sound reasons why a shock pad should be incorporated into a artificial pitch where budgets allow however in community based facilities safety in the long term will be a significant factor.