Stadia & Artificial turf
FIFA and UEFA have worked closely on artificial turf developmentFIFA and UEFA have worked closely on artificial turf development (©AFP)

Salzburg turf approval

Thursday, 12 January 2006

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World football's governing body FIFA has awarded the FIFA Recommended 2 Star certification to the new football turf pitch at the Stadion Salzburg Wals-Siezenheim in Salzburg, Austria. It is the second FIFA 2 Star approved football turf pitch in a European domestic top flight, after Dutch club Heracles Almelo received the FIFA certificate in August last year.

UEFA pilot scheme
Salzburg – one of the venues for the UEFA EURO 2008™ final round – was selected by UEFA in 2003 for one of its pilot schemes to enable football to be played on artificial turf. For the past two years, these projects have been closely monitored. Research has been looking at player safety and injuries to players, as well as ball bounce and roll, to establish comparison with natural grass surfaces.

German product
The pitch comes from the German Polytan company. Polytan also installed four football turf pitches in Peru, South America, for the FIFA U-17 World Championship, as well as training pitches for FC Bayern München and VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach. "We are aiming for the best possible quality, and the first feedback we have received from Salzburg is very promising," said Polytan spokesman Bernd Wutzer.

Learning more
"We are very happy with the fact that Salzburg have installed a FIFA Recommended 2 Star football turf," said UEFA's head of stadia and security Marc Timmer. "It gives us the opportunity to learn more about the use of FIFA approved football turf in Europe. Salzburg is part of UEFA's new football turf research programme, which is primarily focused on the appreciation and acceptance of the end users - players, referees, and so on."

Unified standards
FIFA and UEFA have co-operated to establish a set of unified standards for testing new football turf pitches. With these efforts reaching a successful conclusion, the FIFA Quality Concept Handbook of Test Methods and Requirements for Artificial Football Surfaces was issued in the spring. Click here to view the handbook.

Laws reference
A reference to artificial turf surfaces was first included in football's Laws of the Game by the game's lawmakers, the International Football Association Board in February 2004. In the summer of 2004, FIFA approved the use of artificial turf pitches in various competitions including the qualifiers for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. In November 2004, UEFA's Executive Committee also decided that European competition matches could be played on approved artificial turf surfaces from the 2005/06 season. UEFA EURO 2008™ in Salzburg will take place on a relaid natural grass surface.

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