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All posts tagged synthetic pitch

At its meeting last month, the RFU Council approved a £57m (US$86.4m, €78.5m) strategy to invest in Artificial Grass Pitches (AGP), which will see 100 artificial, floodlit pitches installed across the country over a four-year period.

This is a significant capital investment, which will fund two types of pitches in locations across the UK to ensure maximum access and rugby participation:

  • 60 on rugby club sites to be used by the host club and other local clubs, enabling games to be played and training to be maximised
  • 40 on community sites with a guaranteed number of hours for use by rugby

While there are close to 700 AGPs in England, rugby can be played on less than 10% of them due to the others not complying with the World Rugby specifications for build and performance, which includes criteria such as ball bounce, head impact and carpet joint strength. Of the 10% that are usable, less than 10 are currently located on community rugby club sites.

The major driver for installing artificial pitches is to sustain and grow participation in the game against a backdrop of increasing pressure on natural turf pitches, changing player expectations, competition from other sports investing in artificial pitches and changing weather conditions.

Over the past four years, RFU data shows that wetter winters are having a serious impact on the rugby season, resulting in more games and training sessions being cancelled. In February 2014, 1,766 adult games were lost over two weekends due to bad weather and over 600 natural turf pitches remained unplayable for three weeks afterwards.

Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director, said:

With changing expectations and aspirations it is clear that rugby, like other sports, needs to provide playing surfaces that meet modern requirements.

Following Rugby World Cup 2015 there has been an upsurge in interest in rugby, not least from aspiring coaches, referees and young players, and this is an exciting opportunity to further develop our community rugby facilities.

The project will get underway with an initial six of the 60 rugby club pitches aiming to be operational by September 2016.



Purpose-built SIS Pitch launched at St. George’s Park for blind squad

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SIS Pitches has joined forces with The FA’s National Football Centre, St. George’s Park, on a brand new facility that will help the England Blind Squad’s quest to win next summer’s European Championship.

The Cumbrian based firm has built a dedicated Blind Football pitch at the nation’s home of coach education, which the England blind team will use as a training base ahead of the 2015 Euros in Hereford.

CEO of SIS pitches George Mullan commented:

We were extremely excited to be working at such a prestigious venue in St. George’s Park and supplying what will be an invaluable resource for Blind Football.

The work, which was completed over five weeks in the summer, includes the SIS Superior 3G surface, 2.4 metre high rebound fencing, team and referees shelters and hard standing areas for team supporters.

The National team, who have also received two years of funding worth £1m from The FA, need to reach the final of the Euros in order to qualify for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.

Head of Disability Football at The FA, Jeff Davis, added:

We’re delighted with the new pitch and it’s a facility that can only strengthen our player coaching programme as we look ahead to next year’s European Championship and the Paralympics in 2016.

The FA has confirmed that the new pitch will be named after Tony Larkin who is a former Head Coach of the England Blind Squad and led Great Britain at both the Beijing and London Paralympics.

Picture: Contracts Manager Jon Turnbull from SIS Pitches, handing over the pitch to Peter West, Project manager at The FA.

Synthetic Turf Council’s Spring Membership Meeting Focused on Science in the Industry

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Held from March 17-19, the Synthetic Turf Council’s Spring Membership Meeting in Las Vegas attracted 217 leaders of companies in the synthetic turf industry from throughout the world, including manufacturers, suppliers, installers, landscape architects and engineers, testing labs, maintenance equipment and service companies.


The educational programme included presentations on the latest research and science on Synthetic Turf sports fields, player performance, and safety. Chris Sherwood, representing Biocore and the University of Virginia, highlighted the importance of matching the shoe and cleat type to the playing surface in order to minimize the risk of injury. Dr. John Sorochan and Adam Thoms from the University of Tennessee reported new data on the relationship between various synthetic turf sports field systems and player performance. In addition, Dr. Steven Buchberger from the University of Cincinnati discussed the research that his department is doing on accurately simulating stormwater runoff from synthetic turf sports fields.


The highlight of the programme was the presentation by Chris Nowinski, co-founder and Executive Director of Sports Legacy Institute and author of Head Games, on the risks of concussions to athletes in many sports, including football, soccer, lacrosse, ice hockey, and particularly to young athletes. Following Mr. Nowinski’s talk, the Council membership discussed the need to re-emphasize the importance of regular maintenance and testing of synthetic turf sports fields to assure proper resilience and performance.


To expand the learning experience, there were concurrent presentations on synthetic turf for sports fields and for synthetic grass for landscape and recreation use. For the sports field audience, Dr. Eric Harrison, a consultant to FIFA, the international governing body for soccer, reported on FIFA’s new guidelines on heat and maintenance. Leanne Walsh from the International Rugby Board (IRB) gave an update on the IRB’s One Turf initiative, which is exploring the possibility of creating a set of standards which meet the needs of a single artificial turf surface suitable for many sports, particularly at the community level where multi-use facilities are in demand.


For the landscape and recreation audience, Rick Doyle, President of the Synthetic Turf Council, moderated a consumer panel on the impact that synthetic turf is having in the region, where water is rationed.  Panelists included representatives from a local resort hotel, homeowners association, and the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which is providing financial incentives to residents to save water by replacing their grass lawn with synthetic turf or other hardscape material.


A pre-conference “Whistle-stop” seminar on the many applications and benefits of landscape and recreation synthetic grass as well as the STC’s guidelines when buying synthetic grass for landscape use. Other highlights of the meeting included an Exhibitor Showcase, and a special report on the North American synthetic turf industry by STC Board Chairman, John Baize of Act Global.


Dutch Jupiler League standardises on TenCate Grass

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The Dutch Coöperatie Eerste Divisie has awarded the contract to install synthetic turf fields at its clubs to TenCate Grass, following a tender process. The installation of the first fields at Jupiler League clubs will begin this summer and will be carried out by GreenFields, a subsidiary of TenCate.

By entering into a collective agreement, Jupiler League clubs will benefit in the same way as already experienced by the Premier Division since summer 2012.

A number of these synthetic turf fields are already present in the Jupiler League and Premier Division, such as those installed last summer at Heracles Almelo and PEC Zwolle. This summer, similar fields will be installed at FC Oss and FC Den Bosch. The field at Den Bosch is a GreenFields MX artificial grass system installed by C.S.C. Ceelen Sport Constructies and to be completed 18 July.

As part of the collective agreement, TenCate will use its highest-grade synthetic turf systems for this Dutch top-flight football project, to optimise the quality of the playing fields across the first division and to reduce cancellations, particularly during the winter period.

Blue Ds for hockey trialled at Investec Hockey World League

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England Hockey made modifications to the competition pitch for the Investec Hockey World League semi-final at the University of Westminster. It used synthetic turf transferred from the 2012 Olympic pitch to pick out the Ds in contrast to the remainder of the green pitch.

Sally Munday, England Hockey’s CEO, said:

The principle of a different coloured scoring area has worked well in other sports and different coloured Ds have been used in indoor hockey for a number of years now. With renovation work required at the ground we embraced the opportunity to be involved in this initiative and we hope that spectators and TV viewers alike will welcome the new look.

Kelly Fairweather, CEO of the FIH, stated

FIH supports England Hockey in finding a solution to provide an appropriate pitch surface for this event and is keen to assess the feedback from players and spectators about the potential for this innovative pitch design.

The pitch at the University of Westminster Sports Ground in Chiswick was repaired and altered by FIH Preferred Pitch Supplier Sports Technology International.

Winchester University's hockey stadium has blue Ds imported from the 2012 Olympic surface.

Winchester University’s hockey stadium has blue Ds imported from the 2012 Olympic surface.