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Forest Academy scores with second 3G surface

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With English Championship soccer side, Nottingham Forest FC, not only looking to regain Premier League status after a 15-year absence, as well as striving for Category One status for its Academy, maintaining the best training facilities for its first team through to youngsters as young as eight is a top priority.


Faced with the challenge of attracting and developing the region’s most talented young footballers, the Club’s management took the decision to install a new state-of-the-art outdoor 3G playing surface at its Nigel Doughty Academy. The ultimate objective was not only to achieve playing consistency for every one of the club’s youngsters, but also to secure Category One academy status under the FA’s Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP).


Having already invested in an indoor synthetic training pitch last year, the Club contacted TigerTurf; a leading manufacturer of synthetic sports surfaces in the UK, who manufactured and supplied a 7,094m² surface, which was installed by Sleaford-based independent sports surfacing specialist, Smith Construction.


At the request of the academy coaching staff, the surface was manufactured with markings giving it the versatility to be divided from an FA regulation 11-a-side pitch into four smaller pitches to be used by younger academy age groups. With the academy hosting many talented youngsters aged 8 – 19 from across the club’s representative teams every week, an adaptable 3G area was essential.


Boasting FIFA 1 and 2 star accreditation, TigerTurf’s Soccer Real 60XQ is the result of breakthrough polymer processing that eradicates weak points which may occur in the yarns as a result of the shape, therefore producing unrivalled split resistance. This results in a surface which is durable enough to offer long-term elite level performance without compromising the aesthetics. The third generation synthetic turf system is 60mm in length and comprises two unique profiled fibres; part-filled with rubber and sand to enhance ball roll.


To enhance the overall standard of the playing area, the football club also invested in the installation of recessed goal areas to ensure that those goalposts not being used can be moved away from the pitch to avoid any safety risks. With goalposts constantly being moved to accommodate academy squads of different ages, this was deemed essential by the coaching staff.


Gary Brazil, Academy Manager at Nottingham Forest Football Club, commented:

When the Club took the decision to invest in a new 3G surface at its academy, the Chairman’s view was that the quality of the playing surface had to come first, which is certainly reflected in the quality of its performance to date.

From a coaching perspective, we couldn’t be happier with the new surface as it allows us to do the technical work that we need to do with the youngsters at the club – and do it with quality. The reception from the players has been equally positive as the new pitches create conditions very, very close to those of natural grass. The ball holds up better than on other synthetic pitches we’ve seen which gives a truer playing environment.

As we aim to achieve Category One status for our academy as soon as possible, it is essential that we offer a top-class facility with top-class surfaces. The new artificial training pitch is second to none and perfectly enhances our grass pitches and indoor surface, giving us everything we need to meet Category One criteria, which is the ultimate aim for us irrespective of the division our first team is playing in.

The new 3G area is great as it gives us a full-sized 11-a-side pitch which can be broken down into an 11 v 11 pitch, a 9 v 9 pitch and two 7 v 7 pitches, depending on what we need at any given time. This works extremely well for both competitive fixtures and training. I don’t think we’d do anything different even if we were asked to do it all again.


Ewan Hunter, the Club’s Head Groundsman added:

As well as being able to handle the demands of every team that trains at our academy, it was also important for us to have a pitch that would be simple to maintain. By running a charterhouse groomer and brush across the surface in a couple of different directions once a week, we can ensure the rubber infill on the surface is always evenly distributed.

The 3G surface is simple to maintain and by working closely with the coaching staff to monitor how much each pitch is used and in which areas, we can adjust our maintenance schedule accordingly.

Nottingham Forest FC has installed a new TigerTurf 3G pitch at its Nigel Doughty academy (2)

A stitch in time at Millennium Stadium in Cardiff

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The major pitch revamp at the Millennium Stadium has taken an exciting turn as two giant sewing machines have started work on the new turf at the home of Welsh rugby.

The Desso GrassMaster machines have begun stitching artificial fibre into the fresh shoots of grass to complete the new hybrid surface which will be revealed before Wales’ first Dove Men Series clash on 8 November.

After a fortnight of ‘sowing’ grass seed at Cardiff’s iconic rugby venue, the ‘sewing’ of natural grass and its artificial counterpart is expected to be finished by the end of the week, one month before Wales take on Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and South Africa.

The specialist machines, encased within bespoke travelling tents, will stitch up to 21 million artificial turf fibres to the natural grass roots. The fibres equate to 86,400 kms of twine, more than twice the circumference of the earth!

Head Groundsman Lee Evans who posed for photos on a wooden bench on which “Millennium Cardiff” has now been handwritten by the Desso workers alongside other major venues, said:

This is a tried-and-tested system that features all over the sporting world. The Desso team are experts in this field and to see the Millennium Stadium up there with the some of the greatest venues is just fantastic for me and my team, for Welsh rugby and the Millennium Stadium.

The Millennium Stadium’s radical turf transformation will vastly improve the playing surface in line with the most advanced hybrid surfaces in the industry, one year before Rugby World Cup 2015 brings eight games to Cardiff.

The major renovation project also includes new state-of-the-art broadcast facilities as well as a Terraplas pitch covering to protect the surface during non-pitch events such as rock concerts and motorsports.

Millennium Stadium Manager Mark Williams is enthusiastic about the progress so far:

We are now right at the heart of the pitch installation project as the giant Desso Grassmaster machines set about stitching the grass and artificial fibres which will make up the brand-new pitch.

This stage marks a hugely significant moment at the Millennium Stadium which will ensure we continue to strengthen our reputation as one of the world’s leading multi-event venues for sport and entertainment for the future.

Since its official opening in 1999, the Millennium Stadium has delivered over 350 major events for Wales and, with that, continued to improve facilities for the 770,000 paying visitors it attracts, on average, per year.

Williams added:

We must continue to put the systems in place to ensure the very best environment for the national squad and the millions of spectators we welcome to Wales. This summer is no exception and we are excited and optimistic about our new pitch project, which is not only about providing a greater playing surface but also improved facilities for the media and a pitch covering system that will ensure we have the potential to deliver a wide range of events all year round.

Sport Group strengthens global Polytan roll-out with Team Sports acquisition

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Sport Group – owners of the world-renowned Polytan brand, a leading provider and worldwide market leader of outdoor sport and recreational surface systems – has announced the acquisition of Team Sports, a major synthetic sport and recreational surface provider in Australia. This acquisition enhances the Sport Group’s position to be one of the fastest-growing global synthetic sports surface providers.

This synergy is a perfect match, allowing all companies to focus on excellence in service to the industry and their customers, as well as producing outstanding quality in synthetic sporting surfaces.


Frank Dittrich, CEO of Sport Group, commented:

With the acquisition of Team Sports, Sport Group strengthens its global leading position and supports its strong profitable growth. It also encourages the global roll-out of the Polytan-Brand as quality leader. I am delighted about this outstanding step forward for our customers and our own performance.


John Curtis, CEO of Team Sports, added:

We’re excited to be part of Sport Group. This divestiture allows us to embrace new technologies, widen our product range, whilst still providing our clients with our outstanding customer service.


Team Sports will continue to operate from its Seven Hills (Sydney, Australia) location, with John Curtis, his management team, and staff remaining with the organisation.


About Team Sports:
Established in 1997, TEAM Sports is a leading industry provider of synthetic sports surfaces for the past 17 years. This new collaboration provides a fantastic opportunity for its existing customers to take advantage of a greater range of products to suit all budgets and installations. We will continue to embrace new technologies to create world-class sporting surfaces and industry leading landscape turf products. Visit for more information.
About Sport Group:
Our business creates the basis for emotion. Whether it’s artificial turfs or sport and recreational surface systems, our products enable world records and the pure thrill of movement. We are a group of 19 companies from 9 countries with nearly 1,000 employees, working around the globe to deliver the best product and the perfect basis for sports and recreational events. All for the benefit of athletes, fitness buffs and spectators alike. Visit for more information.

About Polytan GmbH:
Based in Burgheim, Polytan has been the leading specialist for outdoor sports surfaces for more than 40 years. The spectrum of services includes the supply of polyurethane raw materials, the installation of synthetic surfaces for athletics tracks, all-weather pitches, elastic layers for synthetic turfs, the supply and installation of traditional and filled synthetic turfs, lining, repairs and the cleaning of sports surfaces. Polytan produces all products in its own plant. Polyurethane raw materials and synthetic turf fibres are developed and formulated in the in-house laboratory and manufactured ready to lay in the company’s own production facilities.
Polytan is licensee in the FIFA Quality Programme for Football Turf and FIFA Preferred Producer. Through an integrated process from production to installation, Polytan ensures that the FIFA quality standards required in the PP programme are met. Polytan is one of the few manufacturers to offer technical expertise in-house, enabling it to provide support to customers in line with the FIFA Preferred Producer philosophy, from the start of the project to staff training on site. Polytan’s football turfs can be certified to FIFA RECOMMENDED 2-Star Standard, making them approved for use as an official playing surface for national and international football competitions, including the UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE.
Polytan also has all approvals from the main sports organisations (e.g. FIH for hockey turf, IAAF for athletics tracks) and meets all the requirements of national and international standards such as DIN and EN.

DFB squad celebrates victory over host’s Canada on Polytan|STI synthetic turf pitch

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Ahead of the 7th Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015, the German DFB selection travelled to Vancouver to take part in an international friendly match against the Canadian national women’s team. This offered a welcome opportunity for the German squad to test the strengths of the host country and the local conditions. The team reported back top quality facilities at BC Place Stadium; the venue for the match and showcase stadium for the Women’s World Cup Final in 2015.


Since 2011, matches at the multipurpose BC Place Stadium have been played on a Polytan LigaTurf RS+ system, which seemed fitting with the German connection.


In a thrilling and lively match, the team of coach Silvia Neid managed to secure a 2:1 (1:0) win over host Canada. After a balanced opening, Lena Lotzen put Germany in front in the 29th minute. Not long after the second half began, Sophie Schmidt pressed for the equalizer and defeated the German goalkeeper, Nadine Angerer, with an unsavable lob in the 53rd minute. Following a foul on Lena Lotzen, Simone Laudehr scored the match-winning goal for the 2:1 win from the penalty spot in the 65th minute.


After the successful test match, Germany’s women’s national football team can look forward with confidence to the upcoming Women’s World Cup in 2015. And, with its Polytan|STI turf in place, BC Place Stadium is prepared for its hosting of next year’s tournament.


Thanks to the special design of the turf fibres, the LigaTurf RS+ is particularly robust and resilient, which is why it is also used for football at the stadium. The synthetic turf is easy to maintain and retains outstanding playing qualities, even after years of intensive use. After almost three years at BC Place Stadium, the turf remains just as playable as it was at the beginning, in fact, FIFA has honoured the pitch with the highest award for synthetic pitches, the FIFA RECOMMENDED 2-Star certificate, for the third time in a row.


Europa League team, Young Boys Bern, back on synthetic turf from the 2014/15 season onwards

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A pitch made from LigaTurf RS Pro CoolPlus, the latest generation of synthetic turf from Polytan|STI, is being installed in the Stade de Suisse in Berne over the coming days.


The old grass pitch no longer meets the requirements of either the Swiss Football League or the stadium itself. In future, the ultra-modern ground will also be used more often as an arena for various events in addition to football. Uli Forte’s team and the youth squads will be able to start training on their new pitch for the 2014/2015 season as early as July 7, 2014.


Not only does the switch to synthetic turf mean a significant improvement in training activities as a whole for BSC Young Boys, it also underlines the status of the Stade de Suisse as a football stadium and events venue of national and international importance.


This is highlighted by Alain Kappeler, CEO of BSC Young Boys, who commented:

Switching over to synthetic turf allows us to improve the general conditions considerably and helps us more than ever to pursue our two main aims: sporting success with YB and a profitable overall business.


Sports Director, Fredy Bickel, added:

Synthetic turf is the right decision for BSC Young Boys and the Stade de Suisse. It gives us far better training facilities for the first team, the U21’s and the U18’s. We also get the latest generation of synthetic turf with all the improvements that have been made since 2011, and are collaborating with a proven manufacturer of synthetic turf from Germany.


Not only does the new synthetic turf system improve quality, it is also a more cost-effective solution. Lower spending on maintenance means that considerable savings can be made on operating costs in the Bernese football stadium. Shorter set-up and disassembly times mean that more revenue can be generated through additional events in the arena.


After weighing up all the key factors involved, the management and board of directors of BSC Young Boys and the Stade de Suisse took the decision to install a synthetic surface again following two and a half seasons on natural grass. International acceptance of synthetic turf in football stadiums has increased greatly over the last three years. Its appearance and technical qualities in terms of suitability for sport are on a par with those of real grass, whilst its resilience is in fact superior.  The second-biggest stadium in Switzerland is thus ideally equipped for the challenges of the future – whether as the setting for a second Miracle of Berne or concerts by international artists.


Having served its time, the grass pitch will be removed in the next few weeks. The Polytan LigaTurf RS Pro CoolPlus synthetic pitch is scheduled for completion on June 24.

SIS Pitches complete record re-turf at Amsterdam ArenA

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Cumbrian firm, SIS Pitches have this week completed a full re-turf of the pitch at Amsterdam ArenA, home to Ajax football club.


The re-turf was completed in a record time of 14hrs and 7 minutes, smashing their own record time of 18hrs from a previous re-turf at the same stadium. (Re-turfing is the removal of an existing surface and the replacement with a purpose grown turf. It is suitable for all sports playing surfaces on grass including soccer, rugby, cricket, golf and tennis.)


The work took place on Monday June 2, 2014, with the team working overnight to complete the job.


SIS Pitches have been responsible for installing new pitches at this multi-functional stadium since 2000. As well as being the home ground of Ajax, Amsterdam ArenA is also used by the Dutch National Team for international matches, as well as supporting an events calendar that includes concerts and dance festivals.


This re-turf was completed in preparation for today’s FIFA World Cup 2014 warm-up game between The Netherlands and Wales.


George Mullan, CEO of SIS Pitches is very pleased with how quick this project has been completed, as he advised:

This was a tremendous effort by our Dutch team led by Ton Roosendaal, the crew worked through the night to deliver this new record.


Introducing Sports Turf Canada

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ST Canada logo
At the recent annual general meeting, members of Sports Turf Association Inc. (Sports Turf Association) voted to continue the provincial not-for-profit corporation into the federal jurisdiction. The result? Updated letters patent, revised and updated governing by-laws, and the introduction of a now Canada-wide organization. As part of this renewal process the Sports Turf Association intends to become known as Sports Turf Canada, registering it as a trade style name.

The Sports Turf Association launched a branding and marketing review in 2013 examining its core values, positioning statements and brand through discovery meetings and phone and email interviews with members, stakeholders, the board of directors and staff. During this process the necessity for a more fitting corporation status, together with a title more reflective of its membership was confirmed.

Paul Gillen, now Association past President, explains: “The nucleus of members of the Sports Turf Association has, since its inception in 1987, been based in Ontario. However we have long-supported sports turf managers from coast to coast. The transfer of our corporate identity into the federal domain recognizes more formally our dedication to the promotion of better, safer sports turf across the country.”

First identified as a goal at the inaugural meeting of the Association, the emergence of a more national profile was strengthened in 2009 with the recognition of the Sports Turf Association as the Canadian International Affiliate Organization of the American Sports Turf Managers Association. It continued to develop its Canadian presence with initiatives in Atlantic Canada beginning in 2011, and in 2012 with the formalization of a partnership agreement with the Western Canada Turfgrass Association (WCTA), which recognized the Sports Turf Association as the national body for the promotion of better, safer sports turf in Canada.

“The creation of a national association was the vision all those years ago. It is exciting and gratifying to watch this niche organization grow into one with a national presence and a national mandate,” enthused Michael Bladon, a founding father of the Sports Turf Association.

“While Sports Turf Canada as a brand identity may be new, the passion and hands-on approach of board members and staff and their dedication to the Association is not,” added new President, Tennessee Propedo. “We are the authority in our field and are committed to providing our members with current, credible and relevant information to help them to manage their field assets in the most safe and effective manner.”

SIS spearheads drive to raise football standards in the Middle East

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SIS Pitches, which is spearheading the supply and installation of premium quality synthetic and natural grass pitches in overseas markets, reports burgeoning demand for elite level stadium pitches under a strategy by Middle Eastern states to drive up the standard of football in home leagues and construct stadia to serve a global audience.

The King Abdullah Sports City project in Jeddah is the latest nearing completion (picture courtesy Arup). The project is being delivered through a joint venture between Belgian contractors BESIX and local firm Al Muhaidib Contracting, with SIS Pitches contracted to construct four natural grass pitches – the main stadium pitch and three additional ones circling the stadium structure.

All parties are working flat-out to meet the tight deadline set to ensure early completion. David Ball, Managing Director of SIS (ME) LLC, said:

The stadium was originally planned for sign-off in October 2014 but the works were brought forward a year. Works are being delivered round the clock to get it ready in time. The grass will be sprigged with Bermuda 419 stolons imported from our turf farm in the UAE.
Work on the main stadium pitch is scheduled for October, the grass harvested in jumbo rolls from the onsite turf farm and then laid in the stadium.

Free sports turf advice at Saltex

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World-leading and award-winning groundsmen and women will offer free sports turf management advice to SALTEX (Sports Amenity & Landscape Trade Exhibition) visitors at Windsor Racecourse this year.

An extensive team of experts at the Institute of Groundsmanship’s (IOG) Ask the Expert advice centre – located at the heart of the SALTEX showground – will include Real Madrid’s Paul Burgess, Wimbledon’s Neil Stubley, Twickenham’s Keith Kent and Rod Heyhoe from Lightcliffe Cricket Club in West Yorkshire, as well as the highly-respected team of IOG Regional Advisors.

IOG CEO Geoff Webb said:

The IOG Ask the Expert advice centre is a collaboration between the IOG and leading sports turf professionals who will be on hand to offer sports turf management advice and guidance to visitors from a wide range of sports facilities – from volunteers at amateur sports clubs and local authority contractors to top-flight groundscare professionals.

Alongside these leading groundsmen we’ve also signed up past and present IOG award winners and our very own IOG regional advisors, who will be on hand to offer across-the-board groundscare advice throughout the three-day event.