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Artificial turf, a durable and profitable solution for stadium facilities in all seasons

Due to snowy and icy weather conditions, many sports events had to be cancelled these days, often leading to costly consequences for the organizers. Reason for the Tarkett Group, the worldwide leader in artificial turf with over 3,000 installed fields, to stress the interest of artificial turf as a durable and profitable alternative for local municipalities, clubs and privately owned stadium facilities.

Fields with artificial turf are designed to be used intensively all year round

The 3rd generation artificial turf from FieldTurf offers all the performance characteristics of natural grass, however, with a 4 times superior annual usage resistance, thus allowing clubs for example to accumulate training sessions and matches even during periods of extreme cold or moist weather conditions.

FieldTurf’s artificial turf therefore represents a perfect answer to today’s evolving sports facility concepts. To be profitable and to match occupation objectives, many stadiums have to mutate towards potentially modular concepts, prepared to receive amateur and professional sports, as well as cultural events at any give time. (A usage evolution which has also been formulated by the demands of the Grand Stadium 2016 Commission).

A solid return on investment

Even though the initial investment into a field with artificial turf is higher compared to natural grass fields, a longer life cycle and significantly lower maintenance costs quickly make up for the difference and assure a swift return on investment. Thus for example, for a natural grass stadium field annual maintenance costs amount to € 50,000 compared to only € 3,000 for a field with artificial turf (averaged over a period of 10 years).

An important contribution to protect the environment

All through the winter season, the field allows for substantial energy savings, as it doesn’t have to be covered, neither heated, no matter the temperatures. Compared to natural grass fields, artificial turf helps:

· to save 2 to 4 millions liters of water per year (pending climate conditions)

· to banish up to 12 pesticide treatments per year

· to avoid 1.5 tons of fertilizers

· to reduce the consumption of energy due to the absence of mowing

· to recycle 20,000 used tires per year

A solution certified by professional sports federations

Today, international soccer (FIFA) and rugby (IRB) federations have explicitly amended their rules and regulations to officially allow for professional sports events to take place on artificial turf. Since the creation of the FIFA “Recommended 2 Star” label, FieldTurf has become the manufacturer with the highest number of certified fields in the world, totaling 32 installations around the world. This label has become mandatory for all finals in the FIFA and UEFA competitions.

In support of the Regions and to favor the development of artificial turf fields, both FIFA and UEFA participate in the financing projects.

In France, the Professional Soccer League has approved the installation of artificial turf fields in its official stadiums as of 2008, thus joining the growing number of European Leagues: Eredivsie in Holland and the official Leagues of Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Russia.

Given this context, Tarkett has, invited local governments, represented via the National Association of Elects for the Sport (ANDES), as well as the predominant instances in French and international soccer (FFF and UEFA) to develop a better understanding of and to share the experience in the use of artificial turf. The event took place in December 2009 and was also designed to present forthcoming infrastructure installation programs for France.