Driven by its vision to become the reference in sports excellence worldwide by 2020, Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) has inked a partnership with the STRI Group to establish a Centre of Excellence for natural sports turf research and development, which will service Qatar’s sports facilities.
According to the partnership agreement, the venture will include a 1 hectare outdoor turf research facility and a fully equipped laboratory to develop natural sports turf solutions tailored for local and regional weather systems, which require specific technology and expertise.
Together STRI and AZF will explore ways to improve the efficiency of natural turf surfaces and create optimal conditions in Qatar’s new stadiums and other sports facilities, even in harsh weather.
Commenting on the agreement, Mr. Mohammad Khalifa Al-Suwaidi, Acting CEO of Aspire Zone Foundation, said:
Guided by QNV 2030, and our mission to enhance sports performance, comes this step, which marks the latest expansion of Qatar’s booming sports industry, in order to support our ambition to make natural turf sustainable across the region. Qatar’s football industry will be the main beneficiary but we also expect golf, tennis and equestrian courses to benefit from our research and service offerings.
This alliance will help us develop Qatar and the region’s expertise in the design and management of natural turf, allowing AZF to benefit from STRI’s world leading skills in research and consulting expertise.
Lee Penrose, STRI Group Director, added:
We are delighted to have agreed a strategic partnership with AZF and keen to start working with Qatar to not only improve natural turf surface design, but also develop the country’s sports turf management capacity, as this will help Qatar to cement its position as the primary sports destination for the region.
With more than 80 years of experience, including at the last two World Cups and Olympic Games, STRI work alongside AZF to deliver the same creative but practical solutions for design, establishment and management of sports surfaces that we have been providing for sports clubs and organizations around the globe.
STRI and AZF will provide training in the region to contractors, civil servants and any other relevant organizations and will not compete with local companies. As such, this alliance will hugely contribute to Qatar’s National Vision 2030 by investing in human capital. It will develop expertise and create opportunities for Qatar’s people, enhancing the efforts of the Foundation to develop competitive infrastructure and helping to deliver an amazing 2022 FIFA World Cup.
STRI is the leading global design and consultancy specialist for the development of elite standard sports surfaces. Providing advice and expertise on the research, design, construction and management of both natural and artificial sports fields of play across the world.
STRI was established in the UK in 1929, and now operates globally out of its three research and design hubs in Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific, servicing over 2,000 clients annually. Clients include some of the world’s most iconic sports venues, international tournaments, sports governing bodies, sports club owners and facilities managers, local authorities and schools.
STRI has within its capabilities extensive staff resources working across wide range of R&D, design, consultancy and sustainability disciplines.
About Aspire Zone Foundation:
Aspire Zone has grown significantly since its inception as an international sport destination in 2003. The official umbrella, the “Aspire Zone Foundation” (AZF), was established by Emiri decree on 1 January 2008.
The goal of Aspire Zone Foundation is to develop sports champions, promote healthy lifestyle and galvanize the sports economy. All member organizations of AZF have their individual role to play in realizing the AZF Mission. The Aspire Zone umbrella brand currently comprises three strategic member organisations.
Integrated below the strategic members, which are specialised in businesses focusing on various fields such as venues and events management, hospitality, sports education, sports medicine, communication or commerce.
All businesses have been integrated to serve, enhance or perfect AZF in its development to become the worldwide reference in sports excellence.
Aspire Academy, established in September 2004, has developed into one of the world leading elite sport institutes.
Aspetar, the first advanced sports medicine hospital of its kind in the Gulf region and one of the leading facilities in the world, commenced its operations in 2007. It has meanwhile achieved a pioneering international reputation and is recognised as a FIFA Medical Centre of Excellence.
Aspire Logistics is the backbone and custodian of Aspire Zone venues. It manages all venues, as well as international sports events and conferences.