World Rugby, FIFA and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) have joined forces in order to develop a new, universal protocol for multi-sport playing fields.
The protocol, which has been dubbed the ‘One Turf Concept,’ is the result of several years’ collaboration between the federations and much discussion with industry leaders.
The Concept is applicable to any artificial turf field not designed to meet the specifications of one sport and is formulated to balance player performance with surface playability.
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont told Premier Rugby, “While the elite level of each code has a distinct need that often requires its own specific playing surface, 99 percent of players fall outside that professional, elite group and have different requirements.”
“Those seeking to provide safe and high-quality facilities are often in an environment where space and money are limited,” said Beaumont. The Concept is particularly expected to benefit athletics programs at the community level.
One Turf Concept offers guidance for those intending to convert existing fields, as well as those looking to install a new surface.
For existing fields, the Concept outlines the minimum performance requirements necessary to meet multi-sport needs, based on player and ball interaction with the surface.
For new installations, it provides guidance on how to ensure the longevity of the surface through lab-simulated climatic degradation testing, as well as suggestions for identification testing to ensure that installed materials are of the same quality as tested materials.
The federations have also put together a comprehensive requirement guide for field owners desiring to achieve multiple sports certifications.
FIH director of sport and development David Luckes told Premier Rugby, “While short-pile products are preferred for hockey, the FIH recognizes that this partnership can aid development by providing opportunities to play hockey on surfaces where there are no alternatives.
World Rugby, FIFA, and FIH will continue to work with manufacturers and test labs to refine the concept and increase surface longevity and performance.