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Amsterdam ArenA’s football pitch receives ISO certificate

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As of this week, Amsterdam ArenA’s football field has been officially ISO certified in accordance with the internationally-recognised ISO standard 9001:2008. Amsterdam ArenA – home ground of Ajax and the largest stadium in The Netherlands – is the first stadium in the world to be awarded the ISO certificate for its football pitch.

 

The pitch is a natural grass field that is replaced annually. In order to guarantee the consistent high quality of the field, it is subject to a stringent quality control policy. Key to this quality control policy is that the stadium imposes high standards on the entire process, ranging from the grass seeds at the nursery to the growing of the turf, sod cutting and transport, down to the substrate in the stadium and the inspection of the grass by experts, football players and the technical staff. The ArenA receives the ISO certificate for the quality management of the grass field replacement.



As part of the quality management system, the Amsterdam ArenA continually monitors the quality of the grass pitch, applying advanced methods and specialised equipment. This involves measurements at regular intervals at nineteen predefined locations in the field, of factors such as shock absorption, energy restitution, soil temperature, soil moisture in the root zone and compression of the top layer. In addition, these tests measure, for instance, the length of the grass, ball roll, ball rebound, rotation resistance and root composition. The results of these tests are compared to the ‘standard’ the ArenA has set for itself. At present, natural grass is not yet subject to objectified quality standards. Any deviations that are observed relative to the ArenA standard will allow the groundsmen responsible for field maintenance to take targeted corrective action.

 

Furthermore, the ArenA asks the players to assess and rank the quality of the pitch after every match. They share their views on issues such as ground hardness, ball speed and humidity of the grass pitch. The scores are rated on a scale of one to five, similar to the method applied by the players’ union, VVCS. ISO 9001 places an emphasis on client satisfaction and the ensuing quality care and continuous improvement. Unique in this respect is that the ArenA subsequently compares the views of the players with the objective measurements that are continually recorded. The final goal is to ensure that the ArenA standards for the pitch are optimally attuned to the views and assessments of the players.

 


Henk Markerink, CEO of Amsterdam ArenA, said:

Top-class football, such as the matches of Ajax and the Dutch national team, requires a top-class grass pitch. In this respect, we must consistently aim for the highest quality.

 

Markerink is proud of the fact that the ArenA is the first and only stadium in the world to be awarded this international quality certification, as he advised:

The ISO experts have concluded that the ArenA really says what it does, does what it says and that we can prove this. However, we do not want to keep this knowledge all to ourselves. We will be happy to make our insights available to other stadiums in the Netherlands and in the countries where Amsterdam ArenA already provides advisory services.



The quality management system was assessed by external ISO experts. Part of this assessment involved verification of proper documentation, conducting interviews with all of the stakeholders in the grass chain, and monitoring adherence to the agreements that were made. The assessments and inspections took place during the most recent ArenA grass pitch replacement, which took place last week.

 

SIS Pitches – with its headquarters in Cumbria, UK – conducted the re-turf of the pitch, which (as was reported last week) was completed in a record time of 14hrs and 7 minutes on Monday June 2, 2014, with the team working overnight to complete the job. SIS Pitches has been responsible for installing new pitches at Amsterdam ArenA since 2000.

 

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Sporting Charleroi sets the standard in Belgium

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Sporting Charleroi in the Jupiler Pro League, Belgium have just taken delivery of the new 2013 Matchsaver Air Roller System.The five roller system was delivered and installed in just three days in August and included full hands-on staff training in both English and French.

Mehdi Bayat, owner of RCSC stated:

Matchsaver is the ideal equipment for us to protect the new pitch at Stade du Pays de Charleroi. The groundsmen are very pleased with the ease of covering the pitch and the high level of protection the covers provide in winter.

Peter Wroe, European Business Director, Matchsaver, commented:

We have tailored the covering system specifically for the stadium. Together with the enthusiastic Sporting Charleroi staff we were able to demonstrate how the rollers and covers can be deployed with expertise in 90 minutes.

FC Dordrecht in the Netherlands plays on synthetic turf for first time

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FC Dordrecht will play its Jupiler League (first division) and friendly matches on synthetic turf from now on. The first game on the new surface was against Feyenoord on Saturday 20 July. In record time synthetic turf was installed for the first time ever in the Dordrecht stadium.

In the next football season eight of the 20 clubs in the Jupiler League will train and play their home games on synthetic turf.

FC Dordrecht will thus join the ranks of Almere City FC, FC Den Bosch, SBV Excelsior, Helmond Sport, FC Oss, FC Volendam, and VVV Venlo.

Jelle Beuker, Operational Director of the Coöperatie Eerste Divisie (CED) [Cooperation First Division], explained the development:

We aim both to enhance the attractiveness of matches in the Jupiler League and to increase the playability of the pitches, particularly during the winter season. Synthetic turf makes this entirely possible. An additional advantage is that every stadium with synthetic turf now enables players to both train and play matches, thus also saving the clubs on operating costs. Moreover, the choice of synthetic turf helps to project the Jupiler League as a platform for talented footballers who have the potential to grow to premier league level.

Current list of clubs playing on synthetic turf in the Jupiler League as from the 2013 season:

  • Almere City FC on a synthetic turf system from GreenFields with fibres from TenCate
  • FC Den Bosch on a synthetic turf system from GreenFields with fibres from TenCate
  • C Dordrecht on a synthetic turf system from GreenFields with fibres from TenCate
  • SBV Excelsior on a synthetic turf system from FieldTurf Benelux with fibres from TenCate
  • Helmond Sport on a synthetic turf system from GreenFields with fibres from TenCate
  • FC Oss on a synthetic turf system from Edel Grass with fibres from TenCate
  • FC Volendam on a synthetic turf system from FieldTurf Benelux with fibres from TenCate
  • VVV-Venlo on a synthetic turf system from FieldTurf Benelux with fibres from FieldTurf

Photo courtesy FC Dordrecht – photographer Erwin Spek.

Wembley pitch fit for Champions League

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Wembley Stadium held its second successful Champions League final last weekend. The pitch was the same one that had previously held the FA Cup final, various FA finals and the playoffs for three divisions of the Football League. The pitch was redesigned and renewed two years ago when a Desso Grassmaster system was installed. Lisbon’s Stadium of Light will host the Champions League final in 2014 and the Berlin Olympic Stadium has been awarded the honour for 2015.