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During the 2016 UEFA European Championship (EURO ’16) in France, 4 of the 10 stadiums used for the competition were equipped with AirFibr: Lyon (Parc OL), Toulouse (Stadium), Saint-Etienne (Stade Geoffroy Guichard) and Bordeaux (Matmut Atlantique). All of them enjoyed a high quality pitch, and were recognised among the best pitches of the tournament.

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SportGroup recently confirmed that it has agreed to purchase AstroTurf and SYNLawn, along with their associated manufacturing facilities. By adding AstroTurf and SYNLawn to its existing portfolio of companies and brands (which includes Polytan, APT, Melos, Rekortan, Laykold and Poligras), SportGroup is building one of the largest and highest quality outdoor sports surfacing companies in the world.

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The European Hockey Federation (EHF) and Polytan™ have announced a 2-year partnership that sees Polytan secured as “Preferred EHF Hockey Turf Partner” with exclusivity in the business category. Through this partnership, Polytan will support the EHF and promote its Poligras Hockey Turf Products in the “EHF Territory”.

Speaking about the announcement, the EHF President Marijke Fleuren said:

As part of the Hockey Revolution, we have embraced the 5 Major Initatives of the International Hockey Federation and one of these is a commitment to securing Commercial Partners that share our vision. We believe that in Polytan™ we have found such a partner.

It is indeed an exciting moment for the EHF to be moving forward with Polytan™ and we look forward to innovating together.

We are delighted to welcome Polytan™ to the European Hockey family, and look forward to a successful collaboration.

Markus Deimling, Managing Director of Polytan, commented on the exclusive partnership with the EHF:

As a leading manufacturer of synthetic turf systems, we have carved out a leading position in world hockey under the Poligras brand. We are therefore very excited about the far-reaching collaboration with the EHF, which extends far beyond the usual sponsorship. As the innovation partner, we want to drive hockey sport forward together with the EHF and develop both new hockey pitches and new forms of the game.


Image: Polytan International Sales Director Fred van Wijk and EHF Director General Angus Kirkland.


About Polytan
To make the optimal surface for sporting success – that has been the ideal pursued by Polytan since 1969. With a constant eye on the latest findings in the field of sports medicine, the specialist in outdoor sports surfaces is continuously refining its synthetic surfaces and synthetic turf systems. Today’s synthetic turf pitches not only feel like real grass, for example, they also have excellent playing qualities. High-quality synthetic surfaces now range from shock-absorbing soft-impact surfaces and multi-functional all-weather pitches all the way to high-speed surfaces for international athletics events. As well as developing, manufacturing and fitting its own sports surfaces, the spectrum of services provided by Polytan also includes line markings, repairs, cleaning and maintenance. All products meet current national and international standards and are duly certified by international sports federations such as FIFA, FIH and IAAF. For further information, go to:

About the European Hockey Federation
The European Hockey Federation (EHF) is the governing body of hockey in Europe. It is composed of the Member Associations of European nations (43) that govern hockey in their countries. The EHF, on behalf of and in cooperation with its members organises indoor and outdoor, men and women, senior, junior (U21) and youth tournaments, both Nations and Clubs throughout the continent of Europe. In addition to competitions, the EHF supports its Member Associations through Development Projects and Education Programmes. The EHF is governed by an Executive Board of elected members, holds a General Assembly every year and is professionally administered from an office in Brussels, Belgium. For further information, go to:

A new quality benchmark for synthetic turf has entered the Asian sporting market, with the latest FIFA Certified pitch from Act Global at Ho Chi Minh University of Sport – featuring Bonar Yarns MN Global fibres.

As players set foot on the new pitch at Ho Chi Minh City University of Sport, they are the first in Asia to enjoy the latest in 3G football turf technology. Featuring the latest synthetic turf technology from Bonar Yarns, the prestigious training academy has set new benchmarks in quality, durability and performance for the region’s top playing surfaces.

The sports turf, Xtreme Turf DX, is manufactured by Act Global at their USA facility under ISO 9001 quality standards featuring an exclusive MN Global yarn blend from Bonar Yarns – a fibre that was developed in collaboration with Act Global.

The university chose FIFA preferred producer, Act Global, and Bonar Yarns high performing MN Global fibres due to its unrivalled durability, safety and performance features – ensuring the highest quality for such a prestigious university.

The pitch was completed with exclusive regional partner Hoang Nguyen Company, a leading installer for top-end football fields in Vietnam. The synthetic turf was finished with performance infill imported from Genan in Denmark, before passing stringent field testing to be certified to elite FIFA Two Star level. This is the second pitch in Vietnam which features Bonar Yarns fibres.

Bryn Lee, Global Business Director of Bonar Yarns, said:

Some of the best surfaces in the world are now synthetic, as they offer a unique balance of durability, resilience and skin friendliness. This is an incredibly exciting project both for Bonar Yarns and Act Global.

The system will greatly exceed the needs of a top international stadium, and has already been featured in several notable facilities, including Canada’s Montreal Olympic Stadium and CSV Apeldoorn in Netherlands.

Daniel Clapham, Regional Sales Manager for Act Global, said:

We are pleased to offer Ho Chi Minh City University our latest and most advanced synthetic turf, suitable for top talent at this important training facility. We are constantly researching, testing and refining our systems to ensure players receive the best in class technology and playing surfaces.

The new pitch will be used more than 50 hours per week by some of the country’s top athletes for training and matches. The dual-fibre system offers an ideal balance of player comfort and resilience, with durability testing exceeding FIFA’s standards by more than six times.

Sports University HCMC Vietnam Act Global MN Global (2)

Sports University HCMC Vietnam. Courtesy: Act Global

The second edition of our ‘live’ event, the Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific conference and exhibition, took place September 28-30, 2015, at the Singapore Sports Hub’s Indoor Stadium and was lauded ‘an overwhelming success’ by all in attendance.

The 17th event for Stadia & Arena, the event was hailed a “really great conference” providing “invaluable contacts”, with nearly 500 high-ranking attendees representing just under 30 countries, including Australia, Cambodia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Japan, Kingdom of Brunei, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Philippines, Qatar, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States, for 2.5-days of networking, learning, knowledge-sharing and doing business.

One of the 50+ industry-elite speakers, Jason Hill, General Manager – Commercial at the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust, commented:

I was impressed with the operation… and enjoyed the experience immensely. Best of luck with 2016.

Delegate Masa Hayafuji, Assistant Chief – Stadium Development Group of the J-League (Japan Professional Football League), said:

I just want to show you my great gratitude for inviting me to the conference. It was great experience and I met a lot of people in this industry because of your support.

Another speaker, Greg Turner, General Manager at the STU Sports Park, commented:

…thanks for hosting the conference and everything you did to help organise it. I found it immensely useful and must say I wish there were more such conferences in the region.

Look forward to next year in Japan and hopefully I can present an updated case study on the Sports Park and what we are trying to accomplish there!

Literally billions of dollars’ worth of global sports venue projects were represented at the event, including groups currently involved in new major sports projects around the region. Those included Sports City Malaysia (hosts of the 2017 SEA Games), the Cambodia National Stadium, Haryana Cricket Stadium and Kai Tak Stadium Hong Kong, in addition to global venue operators and facility managers. Developers behind major new sports projects in Australia, China and New Zealand were also in attendance.

Jason Ng, Executive Director of MP Singapore Pte Ltd, our local event partner, said:

As more major international sporting events are held in the Asia Pacific region, there is an increasing need for venue management professionals to gain a better understanding of effective management and utilisation of sports facilities. Stadia & Arena 2015 created that opportunity. We are heartened by the many discussions and sharing of real-world experiences amongst the community.

Over 80 delegates attended a special ‘behind the scenes’ tour of the Singapore Sports Hub on the opening day.

The event kicked-off with an exclusive ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour of the Singapore Sports Hub’s facilities, which more than 80 delegates took advantage of. The tour was followed by the event’s Official Opening, with welcome speeches from Alad Chairman, Alan Levett, and Jason Ng, Executive Director of MP Singapore Pte Ltd, and rounded-off with a Regional Market Report that detailed the many projects currently under construction, in the planning stage or being proposed in Australia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Day II saw the start of the conference in earnest, with 50+ industry elite speaker sessions covering all aspects of sports venue design, operations, revenue generation and fan engagement. The day’s proceedings were brought to a close with an evening networking reception in the exhibition hall, which allowed delegates, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors the opportunity to chat in a more informal setting.

On the exhibition floor, which sported more than 40+ industry-leading exhibitors, attendees had the opportunity to network and meet with experts from across the entire spectrum of products and services for sporting events and venues, many of whom were exhibiting in Asia for the first time.

The event finale on Day III gave all visitors the chance to hear an insightful Closing Keynote from the Disney Institute’s Senior Facilitator, Wing Tan, during which he explained how as leaders in the sports industry it is important to understand that your fans are your ‘guests’ and the interactions they have with your stadium employees and third-party vendors will impact the overall fan experience.

As an alternative for delegates with a primary focus on Sports Turf, there was a special local site tour to learn about the importance of proper artificial turf maintenance from SMG Sportplatzmaschinenbau.

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SMG Sportplatzmaschinenbau laid on a special local site tour to advise delegates on the importance of correct artificial turf maintenance.


With cities and countries from across Asia Pacific playing host to a plethora of major sporting events, including the 2017 SEA Games, 2018 Winter Olympics, 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2019 Rugby World Cup, 2020 Summer Olympics, 2022 Winter Olympics, 2022 Asian Games and 2023 SEA Games, plans are already well underway to host Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2016 in Japan. So please watch this space for further details…and keep checking back both on this website and the show’s website at:

Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2016 Advert 480 x 200

A comprehensive review of the Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015 event will be available in the 4th quarter/Showcase Special edition of PanStadia & Arena Management magazine, which will be published later this year.

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Nearly 500 attendees networked, knowledge-shared, learned and conducted business during Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific 2015.


STRI has announced the move of the Melbourne based SportsTurf into the STRI Group, strengthening its position as the worlds’ largest sports surface consultancy and continuing its drive to become the consultancy group of choice in Australia and Asia-Pacific.

STRI Australasia Managing Director, Mark Godfrey said of the acquisition

Today we have reaffirmed our long term commitment to the Australian sports industry and significantly increased our portfolio of services. Increasingly clients are seeking new and cost effective ways to deliver the highest quality sports surfaces for the end user and maximise their return on investment. Combining the local expertise and exceptional service levels of SportsTurf with the global reach of STRI will provide new and existing clients with unrivalled levels of support and innovation.

SportsTurf was established in 1992 to offer a scientifically grounded independent agronomy service to the sports turf industry. Over the years, SportsTurf has evolved to become the local industry leader offering a broad range of services, including consultancy, survey, design, surface assessments, audits, benchmarking and laboratory tests with six consultants and a combined experience of over 130 years!

SportsTurf Director Ron McCartney commented

Sportsturf remain committed to offering all clients the same high standard of technical excellence on which the business has built its reputation. We are thrilled to become part of the STRI Group and look forward to many more years supporting the local sports turf industry.

Dr Marke Jennings-Temple, Operations Director for STRI Australasia, continued;

The opportunity to secure the services of highly-respected researchers and consultants comes along very rarely and was an opportunity not to be missed. STRI feel the ethos, approach and credibility of SportsTurf fit extremely well with our own values and together we offer an unmatched range of services.

SportsTurf will continue to operate under its well-known name with the same talented staff, working out of their

The 2018 FIFA World Cup™ final in Russia will be played on a grass pitch installed by world-leading British firm SIS Pitches, it has been announced this week.

The prestigious contract for the historic Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow was awarded this week by the World Cup organisers and is a second coup for the SIS Pitches negotiating team; its Eastern European division having already won the bid to install the Spartak Moscow pitch, which will host one of the World Cup semi-finals.

SIS Division Managing Director, Ilyas Kobal – part of the SIS Pitches group, which also makes synthetic grass at its factory in Maryport, Cumbria, UK – said:

It’s fantastic news. It will be a natural grass pitch. It’s our first World Cup final pitch and obviously it is a very important contract.

It was a long tender process but in the end our advantages meant even the local companies could not match us.

SIS Pitches was chosen ahead of strong competition from Russian and other international firms, having previously demonstrated its pedigree at the Luzhniki Stadium, under difficult conditions.

Kobal added:

We also did the Champions League pitch for the historic all-English 2008 Champions League final between Manchester United and Chelsea, which was also at the Luzhniki.

At that time there was a synthetic pitch at the Luzhniki, like at many stadiums in Russia. But for the CL final it had to be played on grass, so we re-laid the pitch with grass just for one game.

SIS was chosen at the very last minute and it was a race against time. In the end we had to go outside Russia for the right kind of grass and it involved bringing 22 refrigerated trucks of turf from Slovakia.

I think it went a long way to helping us win the World Cup final. They could also see we have also laid pitches at Spartak Moscow and FC Krasnodar.

Work is already underway to transform the Luzhniki Stadium and is following recent trends in upgrading infrastructure at historic stadiums, while preserving the familiar features that are cemented in fan folklore.

Building work on the stadium will last 12 months, while SIS Pitches designs the complex pitch sub surface structure ready for installation commencing next summer.

Due to the brutal Russian winter, it will involve a system of undersoil aeration, drainage, irrigation and even heating to allow the pitch to be used all year. A custom-designed, reinforced fibre-sand rootzone will be laid and then seeded to be ready by May 2017 in time for the Confederations Cup.

The stadium will then close for a year until the World Cup, where it will also be used in the opening match, featuring the host nation.

Kobal commented:

It’s not a teardown and will hold onto the historic parts which are really beautiful. They are taking out the old Olympic track and rebuilding the stands so the spectators are close to the pitch, which will increase the atmosphere for games.”

After the World Cup, SIS Pitches Eastern European will then strip out the grass pitch and install one of its custom synthetic surfaces, capable of withstanding the winter. The stadium will then become ‘home’ to the Russian national team.

The company has also signed two year deal to maintain the pitch.


About SIS Group

SIS Group produces more than 500,000sqm of pristine artificial grass annually; custom-designed for an array of sports, schools, public spaces and also residential gardens. Much of it is a product of the SIS tufting shopfloor at its base in Maryport, Cumbria, which has provided critical jobs in a cash-strapped region for years. SIS pitches have been installed at more than 120 stadiums across the world, from Russia to Dubai.

For further information, go to:

SIS Pitches installs first SISGRASS system at St. George’s Park

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SIS Pitches have installed their new SISGRASS system at St. George’s Park; England’s National Football Centre and home of English football.

The SISGRASS system uses the latest patented technology and provides all clubs playing on a natural grass surface the opportunity to have the highest quality hybrid pitch at an affordable price.

This is the first major installation of the SISGRASS system in the UK, as SIS Pitches CEO, George Mullan, advised:

We are really pleased with SISGRASS having invested a significant amount of time and effort in developing a completely new hybrid system to meet the exact needs of our existing and future Clients worldwide. We see SISGRASS as a genuine game-changer and that is demonstrated by the amount of enquiries we are receiving on a daily basis.

Mullan continued:

A new SISGRASS pitch offers unrivalled durability, improved pitch recovery times, supports up to three times as many playing hours, and is ultimately the most advanced hybrid solution currently available on the market.

Work at St George’s Park commenced on May 25, 2015, and was completed in the fastest time. This has given both Chelsea and Hull City even greater confidence in having the SISGRASS system installed at their Training Grounds this summer.

Alan Ferguson from St. George’s Park is extremely impressed with the new SISGRASS pitch, as he explained:

With SISGRASS, SIS Pitches has not only matched the competition I believe they have bettered it. The accuracy of the stitching was amazing and was also cleaner and neater. Not having to worry about major oil leaks was also a huge comfort. 

The whole pitch was done extremely quickly, its playability is excellent and all in all SISGRASS is a massive step forward, one which will benefit many clubs and training grounds in the months and years ahead.

SIS Pitches have installed their new system, SISGRASS at St. George's Park, National Football Centre and home of English football.

SIS Pitches have installed their new SISGRASS system at St. George’s Park; England’s National Football Centre and home of English football.


For further information, go to:


Singapore National Stadium’s pitch all set for SEA Games and beyond

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The Singapore Sports Hub showcased their commitment to delivering a robust natural turf solution at the National Stadium earlier this month, ahead of their hosting of the 28th SEA Games, which commence on June 5. To help demonstrate the safe, durable and robust qualities of the new turf solution, several national football players familiarised themselves with the new turf solution.

The Hub also announced Australian-based company HG Sports Turf as the official turf supplier for the Singapore National Stadium. HG Sports Turf is a recognised international turf company with over a decade of experience delivering elite playing surfaces for world-class stadiums and international sporting events around the world, including the Sydney Olympic Games, Melbourne Commonwealth Games, Doha Asian Games and the recent Asian Cup in Australia. (HG Sports Turf is also just one of the many industry-leading companies confirmed to exhibit at our ‘live’ event for sports venue design/build, operation, management, fit-out and technology, Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific, which is being hosted at the Singapore Sports Hub once again this September, 28-30.)

Philippe Collin-Delavaud, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Sports Hub, said:

Over the last few months, we have been working very closely with a qualified turf supplier that can cater to the unique climate, architectural and multi-activity needs of the National Stadium. HG Sports Turf have had success in stadia and events under challenging conditions and bring with them a highly trained and experienced team of professionals to install and maintain the turf at the nursery and at the National Stadium. We will continue to closely monitor and test the quality of the pitch before, during and after each event to ensure it is performing to our expectations of delivering a world-class facility.

HG Sports Turf has successfully delivered turf solutions in stadiums such as the Etihad Stadium – a stadium with a retractable roof, and Melbourne Cricket Ground, among many more. As for world-class sporting events, the company has supplied turf solutions for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, 2003 Rugby World Cup in Australia, 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, 2006 Asian Games in Doha, 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, 2014 AFC Football Cup in Australia and 2014 ICC Cricket World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Hamish Sutherland, Managing Director, HG Sports Turf, commented:

The Singapore National Stadium is a beacon for sports and entertainment events that required a robust natural turf solution for the SEA Games and beyond. When we heard that the Sports Hub was looking for a turf supplier, we rose to the opportunity due to our experience and success in the stadia market. HG Sports Turf sees this as a long-term partnership and we look forward to showcasing our Eclipse Stabilised Turf System at the Singapore National Stadium – one of the world’s biggest stages.

The Eclipse Stabilised Turf, one of HG Sports Turf’s proprietary turf systems, will be supplied with Bermuda Celebration warm-season grass. Eclipse Stabilised Turf combines natural grass and artificial grass in a roll of turf. The artificial grass is tufted into an open-weave backing, top-dressed with sand and planted with natural grass. The reinforcement of the artificial grass combined with the open-weave backing guarantees stability and an even playing surface when installed. Therefore, Eclipse Stabilised Turf can be used immediately after installation.

HG Sports Turf has received 100% support from the Singapore Sports Hub, with improvements to the pitch irrigation system, the full pitch under growth lights, additional fans for air movement, and the installation of 18 moisture and temperature probes to measure and manage the microclimates in the Stadium.

Zainudin Nordin, President, Football Association of Singapore, said:

We are all very excited for our boys to experience and play at the National Stadium. The team will need all the support they can get from the fans, and we do look forward to playing at the Singapore Sports Hub in the knockout stages of the SEA Games.

Low Teo Ping, President, Singapore Rugby Union, said:

Singapore is on the world rugby map, along with rugby being recognised by the International Olympic Committee. A world-class pitch to showcase this gladiatorial sport will be critical and and the Singapore Rugby Union is confident of the robust natural turf solution at the Singapore Sports Hub. With SEA Games on the horizon, this will be a great opportunity to ignite the passion of the game among Singaporeans when they come to support the national rugby team on 6 and 7 June.

Yazeen Buhari, General Manager, Singapore Athletics, said:

Being the first SEA Games event at the National Stadium, the Singapore Sports Hub has consistently kept us abreast on pitch updates as they have progressed. We have also been working closely with the team from the Singapore Sports Hub to prepare for the track and field event at the National Stadium. We are confident that this SEA Games will be one to remember for our Singapore athletes.

The pitch installation for the SEA Games will comprise 8,000sqm, or 800 rolls, of Eclipse Stabilised Turf. The turf will be transported from the nursery to the stadium with 40 flat-bed trucks, all within 48 hours. Each roll of Eclipse Stabilised Turf weighs approximately 750kgs.



Eclipse Stabilised Turf.


The Singapore Sports Hub is the country’s premier sports, entertainment and lifestyle centre with integrated community programming.

Consisting of a unique cluster development of integrated world-class sports facilities within the city, it plays a critical role in accelerating the development of the sports industry, both in terms of excellence and participation, and will take sports to the next level in Singapore.

Located on a 35-hectare site in Kallang, the Singapore Sports Hub includes the following facilities:

  • A new 55,000-capacity National Stadium with a retractable roof and movable tiered seating
  • 100PLUS Promenade that encircles the National Stadium
  • A 6,000-capacity OCBC Aquatic Centre that meets FINA standards
  • A 3,000-capacity OCBC Arena which is scalable and flexible in layout
  • Water Sports Centre featuring kayaking and canoeing
  • 41,000sqm Kallang Wave Mall
  • The iconic Singapore Indoor Stadium: host venue for our Stadia & Arena Asia Pacific event
  • Shimano Cycling World
  • Singapore Youth Olympic Museum & Singapore Sports Museum
  • Sports Hub Library
  • Daily community facilities and activities open for Singaporeans, including beach volleyball, hard courts for futsal, basketball and netball, lawn bowls, giant chess, skate park, climbing wall and running & cycling paths

The Singapore Sports Hub, which is managed by SportsHub Pte Ltd, is one of the largest sporting Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects in the world. It is also Singapore’s largest flagship PPP project of this nature, and has won the PFI award in London in 2011, World Architecture Festival Awards for Best Future Project in the leisure-led development category in 2013 and Sports Building of the Year in 2014.

A new stadium for Nigeria’s Super Eagles

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The Nigerian national football team, known as the “Super Eagles”, is one of the most successful in Africa; having reached the last sixteen of a FIFA World Cup three times, being Olympic champions in 1996 and, more recently, having won the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. And, since the end of last year, they have also had an ultra-modern new ground to call ‘home’ in the form of the Akwa Ibom Stadium, which fully complies with European safety standards and FIFA recommendations.

With 30,000 covered seats and a transparent façade made of backlit acrylic glass, not only does the venue stage international football matches, but also plays host to major social, cultural and religious events.

The Akwa Ibom Stadium is situated in Uyo, the capital of the Nigerian federal state of Akwa Ibom, and is the first building to be completed in the Uyo Sports Park, whose facilities will also eventually include an indoor swimming pool, a multi-purpose hall, a driving range for golfers, basketball pitches and tennis courts.

The stadium, which covers an area of around 48 hectares and has 2,500 directly adjacent parking spaces, was designed by the German company Julius Berger International from Wiesbaden, with responsibility for the construction and execution laying with Julius Berger Nigeria; one of the biggest construction companies in the West African state, with 16,000 employees.

Construction engineers decided on a concrete skeleton, with steel trussed girders forming the load-bearing elements for the façade and roof. The translucent elliptical envelope around the spectator seating area was made from 15mm acrylic glass; the façade of the grandstand likewise consists of acrylic glass, but features vertical panels to form a counterpart to the elliptical external envelope. When it’s dark, ultra-modern energy-saving LED technology is used to light up the stadium in virtually every colour spectrum; in the national colours of the respective opposing team, for example.

The spectator areas provide seating for 22,500 people, with the grandstand holding 7,500 spectators, including VIP boxes for 30 to 40 people. The athletes’ changing rooms have also been accommodated in the grandstand, as have the commentary boxes, administrative offices and stadium surveillance systems. The technical installations are also noteworthy, with a digital floodlighting system, two digital scoreboards and LED video screens, the stadium boasts state-of-the-art technology. A helicopter landing pad is also planned, but is yet to be built. The venue also boasts some unique features, including bullet-proof VIP/VVIP sections, collapsable seats and 30 emergency exits.

The “Super Eagles” play football on real grass, whilst competitions and training sessions for track and field athletes are held on synthetic surfaces from Polytan. For the 400m circular track with eight lanes, the German sports surface specialist installed around 9,500sqm of Polytan M in classic brick red. Furthermore, the fast and optimally cushioned surface used in Uyo is IAAF Class 1-certified, which means that the water-impermeable synthetic surface is suitable for top-flight international athletics events with recognised records. A six-lane training track likewise consists of Polytan M and is situated outside the stadium.

The stadium’s opening ceremony was held on November 7, 2014, and this multi-purpose venue has already proved its worth, having hosted Nigeria v South Africa in the African Championships. The acoustics were also tested shortly before Christmas, during the “9,999 Singers at Christmas Choral Night” event and the running tracks were put through their paces during the AKS/NNPC/MPN Schools Athletics Championships in early March.

"Ibom international stadium" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia -

“Ibom international stadium” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

In this special online article, Martin Kaufman, CSFM, Sports Turf Contractor Purgreen LLC (Nashville, Tenn., USA), discusses the vital role a CSFM (Certified Sports Field Manager) plays and explains why education is key.

Managing turfgrass can be a challenging task. How many people know what the transition zone is? Some might think it is a demilitarised zone in Iraq or Korea. Does the general public realise all the possible turf types we may grow across the US? Do they realise what it takes to make turf look green and usable for their purposes? Does the average person even want to learn how to grow grass? A Certified Sports Field Manager (CSFM) is knowledgeable about all of these topics.

If you have struggled with a tax return, own a business or communicate with the administration of your organisation, you may have worked with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Most of us go through a budget process annually, so we may function in a fiscally responsible manner. A CPA is usually the professional financial advisor that your organisation relies on to help manage your budget. Becoming a CPA requires education, experience and examination. The same is true for becoming a CSFM.

The CSFM certification is a higher level program of education and professionalism in the turfgrass industry, offered by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). According to the STMA, there are currently 193 CSFM’s. To gain certification, there are certain education and experience requirements. Experience can qualify a candidate; however, education alone may not.

Status as a CSFM has laid the groundwork for my success in the sports turf industry. It has taken my career to new heights and provided tangible credibility to my work.

Eligibility into the CSFM program is based on a point system. You may earn points based on your level of education or the degree of education you have obtained, as well as the field of study. For example, a bachelor’s degree in business would earn fewer points than a bachelor’s degree in turf management.

A degree helps earn points for eligibility, but so does experience. You may not become eligible for the exam based on education alone, but you may become qualified based solely on experience.

Eligibility points for experience are similar to points for education; you will earn more points for being the head of your department than you would while occupying a labourer position.

Becoming qualified is the first step. Once that information is compiled and confirmed with STMA headquarters, you may qualify for the exam. An examination may be proctored at a location near you at any time of the year you choose to set up.

The exam is also offered at the annual STMA Conference & Exhibition, which will be held in San Diego in January 2016. The exam itself is composed of four parts: Agronomics, Pest Management, Administration and Sports-Specific Field Management.

Becoming a CSFM requires passion, commitment and professionalism. Sports turf managers are professional and passionate about growing the standards in the turf industry. As a CSFM, there is an extra level of commitment to excellence needed to continue raising the bar for sports fields.

John Torres is the CST in charge of keeping the sports turf in optimum condition at PPL Park.

John Torres is an STMA member and the Sports Turf Manager for PPL Park (pictured above and in the main image) – home of the Philadelphia Union.

About Martin Kaufman

Martin Kaufman

Martin Kaufman is a sports field maintenance professional with 15+ years of industry experience. His professional experience includes: golf course management in the US and Australia, professional football, minor league baseball, university athletic and campus care, as well as K-12 athletic, campus and stormwater management. Kaufman’s widespread knowledge of the sports turf industry makes him a principal authority when managing contracts for outsourcing.

SIS Pitches unveil new and improved maintenance service

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SIS Pitches are now providing a new and improved maintenance service to existing clients, as well as clubs and organisations who simply need help looking after their synthetic pitches once they have been installed.

Once a new pitch has been installed, it is important that it is adequately maintained in order to preserve its lifespan, player performance and appearance, as well as the ensuring the safety of its users.

Ensuring the quality of the playing surface is kept to its optimal best is of paramount importance to SIS Pitches, as Projects Director, Phil Blackwell, explains:

Our fully trained maintenance teams can work alongside current ground and maintenance staff if required to advise and assist in order to fully educate them in what is required when maintaining a synthetic pitch.

Annual contracts are offered with options for either monthly, quarterly or bi-annual visits depending on the clubs specific requirements.

The service includes pitch assessment, infill decompaction and re-distribution and level checks, seam checks, surface repairs and other relevant maintenance activities, with a programme that can be tailored to each specific client.

Supply of specialist equipment and materials for line marking, infilling, de-icing etc., is all included in the service.

Malcolm Munro from Benfield Sports Centre already uses the service, as he comments:

SIS Pitches are a customer focused organisation that consistently delivers a fantastic service. I can rely on them to carry out all of the maintenance requirements, as well as helping with advice and support to ensure my facility is always in excellent condition. I was happy to recently sign up to an extended 5-year contract and would recommend them to any other venue.

For more information on SIS’ Maintenance Service, please visit: or email:

Sutton United FC sign contract with FieldTurf to transform The Borough Sports Ground

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The upcoming close season is probably the most important timeframe for the UK’s artificial turf industry since FieldTurf first invented 3G Football Turf back in 1994. With the recent change in regulations, Sutton Utd FC are one of a number of clubs who are looking at installing 3G Football Turf in their stadium at the end of the season.

The financial and community benefits of installing ‘3G’ are well known, with examples such as Maidstone Utd proving that changing from natural to artificial turf can revolutionise a club. Unfortunately though there is still a negative view from certain people towards “plastic” pitches and this is where the artificial turf industry and the likes of Sutton Utd have an important responsibility.

To change the perceptions surrounding 3G pitches, it is critical that the decisions made now are done so to achieve the best possible surfaces for the players to perform. The investments now will be significant, and the pitches must perform to the FIFA 2-star performance standards consistently for years to come. There is a massive difference between community use 3G facilities and top end stadium systems, and understanding this must shape the clubs thinking when considering the standard of facility they will invest in. All areas of a 3G pitch construction, from the type of yarn in the 3G turf to the sub-base underneath, needs to be analysed and selected carefully on the basis of long term performance and player comfort.

Paul Doswell, Manager of Sutton Utd says:

When Bruce Elliott [Sutton Utd Chairman] and I were looking into this, we researched all angles to guarantee that we are getting the very best system for our players and fans. We looked into the injury risk to the players and all the research from FIFA and other consultants categorically states there is no increased risk of injury to our players.

We also looked at existing 3G facilities and learnt what has worked and what hasn’t worked so well. The stadium pitches at Kilmarnock FC, Cardiff Blues, Stenhousemuir and Newtown FC have all received rave reviews from players and managers so it was a natural choice to select the same surface. We also took advice from the contractor and have selected a shockpad system to help with player safety, improve playing characteristics and increase the longevity of the pitch. It was the more expensive option but our players deserve the best and we need to be sure the pitch achieves FIFA 2-star for years to come.

This is our one chance to show how far technology has changed from the days of the original plastic pitches at the likes of Luton and QPR. Sutton Utd are determined to be leaders both on and off the pitch.

Hopefully everyone else will follow Sutton Utd’s lead and create facilities to be proud of. It is only then that the myth of modern 3G pitches being dangerous can finally be dispelled and England can join the rest of the world in accepting 3G Football Turf.


Image: Sutton Utd’s home stadium, The Borough Sports Ground (pictured), will undergo a major development during the upcoming close season, with the installation of a 3G pitch and shockpad system.

FC Köln first German football club to opt for GreenFields MX

Comments Off on FC Köln first German football club to opt for GreenFields MX

Professional soccer has had many years to get used to synthetic turf and to its look and feel. Leading trainers, managers and clubs praise its many advantages, including FC Köln (Cologne). As the frontrunner, however, the club wanted to move with the times and to have the most modern pitch available. Recently two new pitches were installed, one GreenFields MX and one Evolution XQ, at its grounds.


FC Köln is known as a progressive football club. Immediately after the formation of the Bundesliga, in 1963, the club already had a training centre for both professional players and juniors. The Bundesliga is the highest division in professional football in Germany. The football federation requires every professional football club to have a training centre for young players and this centre must nowadays have synthetic turf.


Werner Jakobs, Managing Director of GreenFields’ distributor in Germany, said:

Here too FC Köln leads the way. The club is, incidentally, also one of the first champions in the Bundesliga.


In the view of Jakobs – a midfielder at Fortuna Düsseldorf in the 1980s – FC Köln has limited space, as he advised:

With two synthetic turf pitches the football club can both play matches and have training sessions on the turf. This is because synthetic turf makes it possible to play on the pitches more intensively and much more frequently. In this way its young players also have greater opportunities to develop.


The club used the summer recess to completely renew two pitches, whereas one pitch is installed with GreenFields MX. FC Köln became the first club in Germany to opt for GreenFields MX.

Before the pitches were renewed, the club had already been playing on synthetic turf from GreenFields for many years, as Jörg Schmadtke, Managing Director of FC Köln, advised:

We were delighted with it. GreenFields material is of high quality. Moreover, its appearance very closely resembles that of natural grass.


Jakobs added:

The new generation of synthetic turf enables us to take huge steps towards bringing synthetic turf as close as possible to natural grass. And what is more, the material is fully recyclable.

Schmadtke is known as a successful manager: in fact, several years ago he was voted Manager of the Year in the Bundesliga. Previously, he had been a professional goalkeeper. That background probably played a role in the decision to install a special pitch for the professional training of goalkeepers, which will be a blend of synthetic turf and natural elements.

SIS Pitches appointed to Gussie Park redevelopment

Comments Off on SIS Pitches appointed to Gussie Park redevelopment

One of the world’s leading synthetic pitch manufacturers, SIS Pitches, has been appointed by Dundee United Football Club to install a new state-of-the-art 3G pitch at the Club’s Gussie Park.


SIS Pitches begins work next month as lead contractor in a GBP£300,000 redevelopment of the Club’s flagship community facility. The company has manufactured and fitted both synthetic and natural football pitches across the world, including World Cup and European stadia, as well as domestic league and community facilities.


Scottish company Bonar Yarns is also a key partner, as it is supplying the specialist yarn, which is a fundamental part of the final manufactured football pitch.


Steve Spaven, Sales Director at SIS Pitches said:

We are extremely excited to be working on this redevelopment for Dundee United and looking forward to getting started next month. This will be another major project in Scotland for us this year, following our recent re-turfing projects at Hampden and Celtic Park.


Dundee United is forecasting a spring launch for a redeveloped Gussie Park with schools, community groups, local youth teams, companies and public sector organisations all having the opportunity to benefit from playing on one of the best footballing surfaces in the world.


The redevelopment of Gussie Park is a key strategic aim of the Club investing some of the returns from its successful transfer market trading into the local community and economy. A significant proportion of the funding has also been contributed by Dundee United supporters’ groups including ArabTRUST and the Federation of Dundee United Supporters’ Clubs.


David Southern, General Manager at Dundee United Football Club said:

It has been a long held ambition of the Chairman and Board of the Club to provide a state of the art training facility that can deliver benefits to both the Club’s youth players and the wider community. Our plans to redevelop Gussie Park, opposite our home ground of Tannadice, are now at an advanced stage. The centre point of this redevelopment will be a new FIFA 2* rated playing surface provided by SIS. It is a world class provision that is a fitting investment by the Club given the importance we place on the development of all ages of young players. After a rigorous tender process we elected SIS Pitches based on their world-wide experience in manufacturing and fitting pitches everywhere from world cup venues through to club stadiums in leagues across the globe. We are also very conscious of our own roots in the community and it is an added bonus that the yarn for the ‘grass’ comes from Bonar Yarns which is on the doorstep of Gussie Park.


Dundee United Academy teams from Under 10’s to Under 17’s will now be centred at Gussie Park. The Club’s nationwide renowned J League, which is open to children from the age of five years old upwards, will also resume activity from the first weekend in March. Gussie Park will also be available for private hire and as such is expected attract the attention of a number of teams from local companies and other work places who enjoy the recreational side of the game but also appreciate playing football on a first class surface.


Gussie Park

Gussie Park – Dundee United’s flagship community and training facility.

For more information on SIS Pitches work, please visit the website