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FIFA.com Article on Artificial Surface Development


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An interesting, if somewhat non-committal, article on the technical and developmental aspects of articial pitches:


It does NOT deal with the issue of use of the surface in competitive matches and tournaments. I note that Luzniki Stadium in Moscow, the huge 80,000 plus "National Stadium" for the Russian team (though not used for the Euro Cup qualifying- Lokomotiv Stad was used) was just passed over in favor of Istanbul for the 2005 Champions League Final site, and the unofficial word is that it was because of the artifical turf (Luzniki was "converted" two years ago, and is used for Russian Premier League play as home for FK Torpedo).

I personally think that FIFA's attention to these developments have, with respect, given false hope to people like Pipe (approval for the FieldTurf sites for WCQ's in fall "mere formality") and Howard ("Well, FIFA have approved it..."). I would love to see Ottawa and Montreal get 2 of the 3 home sites for the expectant semi-final group Aug-Nov, not only because those cities deserve it, but also because it would be fun to see the Central Americans get frustrated, and would certainly give Canada an advantage with the style of game we employ.

Well, I have to give Pipe kudos for at least trying (even if inadvertently) to bring the issue to a head. It might even be because of a behind-the-scenes push by slimy Blatter to get another of his pet projects a vicarious airing in the soccerworld boonies where the cost of failure will not weigh too heavily in the Alps.

SO... in late June (even if we get a bye against Belize), CSA nominates Ottawa and Montreal (along with either Swangard or Commonwealth) as sites for the semi's. Then they sit back to see if and how the the proverbial brown stuff hits the fan. Kingston (Queen's) ( along with one of Kelowna and St. John's ) are quietly kept to the side as alternate sites. The beauty of this is that we have nothing to lose, and the uncertainty of the issue (down to the last minute, I'm sure) will work in our favour (except ofr the bus packages) as it distracts the twitchy Central Americans in their preparations (I can hear the howling now!). If we lose the battle for the Fieldturf, maybe we can try to sneak in a Novemeber date in the cold amidst the smoke of battle. It will help resolve the Canadian issues needed for longterm planning for such things as the WYC 2007 bid and beyond, as well as serve as an international precedent in a way that the U-17 Worlds in Finland last summer never did. It will show the Ottawa and Montreal soccer community they they are considered important, and help them to define the issues one way or another. If we can't play on them, we still get some great small sites where we have certain advantages. If we can, we get relatively large stands full with rabid supporters on a pitch that will help us in many ways. The uncertainty will cause head-aches and mistakes for the travel agents in San Jose, Tegucigulpa, Ciudad Guatemala, LA, Miami and other places.

All-in-all, a stir-the-pot win-win[}:)].

On this issue, I predict an interesting summer ride in the land of the blater ahorn[8D].

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The more important tenant of Luzhniki is Spartak. I watched a lot of games this summer on t.v. played in the stadium and I never noticed that it wasn't grass so I guess that counts for something. I read that Luzniki had a lot of turf problems since it was renovated and the roof was extended to cover all seating thus not allowing much sun on the turf. The turf had to be replaced several times due to damage after games at a cost of $200 000 each time so that is why they switched to field turf. Plus a lot of large rock concerts are held at the stadium. According to the following article the new Salzburg stadium will also be field turf so Austrian 1st division teams will also be playing on the surface. I think as much as some of us may prefer grass, Field Turf is probably the way to go for cost purposes. It will continue to be improved and with more Eastern and Northern stadiums switching to it will be more and more accepted throughout the world. Just imagine how much the conversion of all of our existing Astroturf CFL stadiums to the far superior field turf could have a positive effect on Canadian soccer and make a Canadian league far more feasible.

FieldTurf at Luzhniki BSA Olympic Stadium in Moscow.

PR Newswire, Dec 9, 2002

Montreal -- - First synthetic turf installation to be named to UEFA subsidized safety and medical research study

Montreal - FieldTurf, the originator and leader in the in-filled turf industry, is pleased to be associated with UEFA's major pilot synthetic turf project that will research safety and other medical criteria. UEFA's study will be comprised of six European installations (professional football clubs), the second being at the yet to be completed Salzburg Stadium in Austria. Four additional installations will be named within two weeks.

The goal of UEFA's study is to introduce synthetic turf systems into UEFA competitions as of 2004 / 2005. The research study will examine the performance synthetic turf surfaces with these six professional football clubs co-operating with UEFA appointed specialists.

Luzhniki Stadium, a FieldTurf field since June, 2002, is one of the largest in Europe, seating 80,000. Luzhniki Stadium has already hosted 25 matches this season. Another integral part in the development of the field installation at Luzhniki Stadium, a first in the synthetic turf industry at this level, was the underground heating system. This allows for extended seasonal play, even in Moscow's brutal weather.

FieldTurf, which is presently conducting safety studies of its own and compiling injury data within the synthetic turf industry looks forward to the results.

"We are pleased that the European Football governing body chose Luzhniki Stadium and FieldTurf as a testing installation," said David Wright, Director of Operations -- European Business, based in the U.K. "We look forward to working with UEFA on groundbreaking study."

Fieldturf is a revolutionary synthetic turf, designed with a single goal in mind: to create an artificial surface that duplicates the playing conditions of real grass. After years of research and development, and hundreds of tests on the playing field and in the laboratory, FieldTurf is an artificial turf unlike any other. It looks like grass, feels like grass and plays like grass.

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Thanks, Grizzly, I didn't notice that Spartak also played in Luzhniki,

nor that "our" FieldTurf was the artificial turf they chose there.

I guess that the moral of the story is that all of us on both sides of the issue must keep an open (and undefensive) mind and look carefully at the developments.

Does anyone have any feedback on how the stuff has been received by the bigger teams and players that have played on it in Europe? I know there have been dribs and drabs on other posts.

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I can only comment on Russia but I didn't know that Luzhniki was Field Turf until your post. This despite watching a minimum of one game on t.v. from the stadium per week for 3 months and having several soccer fanatics as friends. I am sure that there was some publicity when it was first installed but now the total silence about it seems to imply that it has been accepted and is not an issue. I never noticed any strange bounces or ball speed in the games I watched although I would certainly watch more for this this summer now that I know it is Field Turf. The stadium in Yaroslavl where I was attending matches was natural grass to the best of my knowledge. I would say that artificial turf is also gaining acceptance now in Germany and most of the professional teams have at least one practice field with this surface. It may however, be a while until a Bundesliga stadium uses such a surface for games.

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Guest Jeffery S.

Perhaps noone saw that Blatter came out last week saying that the question of artificial surfaces would be taken before the next International Board meeting. I think they are going to push hard for its regulation and use.

Checking the FIFA web you can see the technical studies are very detailed, perhaps even more so than what we see for grass, which is often treated as "good" per se, without going into the necessary analytical processes. I'd like to see some grass rejected as unsuitable for the game, esp when fields are too hard, too soft, or the grass is improperly cut or seeded with incorrect density.

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O'Neill (Cheeta's Heero) blasts surface as "absolute ice rink"



Celtic manager Martin O'Neill has warned that the use of artificial pitches will kill football.

O'Neill's side overcame doubts about the surface at East End Park to defeat Dunfermline 4-1 on Wednesday.

But O'Neill, who was concerned at the increasingly slippery conditions, said: "This is not football as we know it. ENDOFEXCERPT


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XL also has a listing of its (considerably fewer) installations:


which includes a stadia in Sweden and Switzerland.

Hopefully when these issues are all hashed out in FIFA and Association discussions, the differences in make and quality between the types of turf will be at hand. It might be unfair for all the surfaces to be tarred with the same brush.

Here, for the record, is the url for the list of FIFA approved licensees (15 so far):


Here is the entry url for list of approved stadia, listed by manufacturer and confederation:


It would be useful for discussion purposes that we specify what kind of turf we are talking about when giving observations.

Any comments on the differnces between the turfs would be appreciated.

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from London Ont soceer fan, on other board:

"Before reading this be aware that rumour has it that many Celtic players and officials and many of their supporters think that Dunfermline deliberately lost to Rangers in the last game of the 2002-03 season by an inflated margin so Rangers could win the league title. The fact that other clubs are seriously considering installing an artificial field speaks volumes IMO.

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/sport.cfm?id=174662004 "

from me: I think the end of the article is interesting as it has comments, positive, negative, and neutral, from people from numerous clubs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

IFAB Rejects FIFA/Blatter Proposal to Accept FIFA-approved Artificial

Surface Pitches in Laws

In what was masked as a victory,



the status quo was maintained. The FIFA approval in the agenda released 3 weeks ago was rejected. instead, the laws now acknowledge that artificial turf can be used "if approved for a competition". For WCQ, that means no change: only if natural turf is not "available" and if competition board approves. Perhaps Pipe was counting on Blatter's proposal being passed when he made the "fait d'accompli" comment, concerning Ottawa and Montreal being used for the semis, last month. The adventure continues...

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This decision allows international club competition fixtures and competitive matches between representative teams of Associations affiliated to FIFA to be played on artificial surfaces that meet recognised FIFA standards and according to the regulations of the competition.

Anyone willing to bet $20 that a WCQ will be played on an artificial surface leading up to WC2006? Oh and don't be surprised if does happen in Canada....

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They were allowed to do this anyway. As to whether it's allowed, especially in Canada where there is always natural pitches "available" is another story. There are so many variables and unexpecteds in soccer these days, who knows for sure.

Wn't bet $20, but I will bet you a beer it won't be held on artificial

turf in Canada (at Lansdowne Park or Molson Stadium, if the game is held there in the summer, or elsewhere if it's not).

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But are there natural pitches availalbe in Canada?

I recall the CSA going on the public record as stating smaller stadia where no longer acceptable for WCQ matchs. If FIFA(CONCACAF) agrees, and given the ladies attendance success' of the recent past and FIFA's apparent willingness to experiment with this whole FieldTurf scheme they just might, there are no suitable natural grass stadiums in Canada outside of Commonwealth.

And given Commonwealth's availability, particularily with the summer/autumn CFL schedule, the CSA may just get their wish and we'll be seeing some footie on the plastic.

And I'll happily bet a lager on most anything because win or loose, it's just not right that someone should have to drink alone...

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I agree that there is tremendous support in FIFA for FieldTurf and its modern sisters. The problem is that they may not be ready to upset the Associations in Central America (or in the hex, the US and Mexico) for these WCQ's.

And I second your sentiments on the lager, buddy!

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