Some turf systems use a shock-absorbing pad which is installed as a patented system to provide the playing characteristics determined for an individual pitch.
For more details on the use of artificial turf in the various categories of stadium, refer to Section 7.1.
From an environmental perspective, there are three key aspects that need to be considered in terms of artificial turf:
• Although a good maintenance programme is essential, this should be less intense in terms of natural resources when compared to natural pitches. For example, the use of water should be significantly lower when compared to the irrigation of natural grass. However, it should be noted that some irrigation might be needed to cool artificial pitches due to heat absorption and it can also benefit the cleaning programme and pitch presentation.
• The choice of infill material used on artificial pitches will also affect its environmental impact. Elastomeric products, both virgin polymers and recycled materials, are classed as micro-plastics which have a negative environmental impact if they are lost and ultimately find their way into rivers and oceans. More recent technologies are moving away from the need for infill to be applied in response to these environmental challenges.
• The whole life cycle of the artificial pitch, including its ultimate removal and disposal.
Just like grass-based pitches, artificial turf requires a comprehensive maintenance programme to ensure that its playing condition, appearance and lifespan are maximised. For artificial turf, the key maintenance requirements are:
• Regular brushing – using a tractor-pulled brush is recommended. Appropriate access for the tractor to the pitch area is required. See the FIFA Quality Programme for Football Turf for further details.
• Removing any debris from the surface, including leaves, bird droppings, litter, etc.
• A drag mat and ball-roll ramp should also be used as maintenance equipment.
There will also be a requirement to disinfect the surface to reduce the potential spread of harmful bacteria that might be retained and transmitted via the synthetic fibres.
Artificial pitches also benefit from irrigation systems to help with cleaning and pitch presentation, and in warmer climates they can be used to cool the carpet ahead of play.