Sportsfields.info has learnt that the governing authorities for hockey in the Netherlands are currently reviewing national quality standards to establish whether they can be aligned with those advocated by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
The sports infrastructure in the Netherlands is amongst the best in the world. Approximately 1.2 billion euros is invested annually in the upkeep and upgrade of the infrastructure.
For the past 30 years, this was governed by the Kwaliteitszorgsysteem (KZS), a robust framework that includes quality standards and design expectations for all aspects of sports flooring for the various sports played in the Netherlands. In the process of making sports infrastructure in the Netherlands futureproof, the entire framework is now being overhauled.
The latest developments can bring some relief to overseas suppliers of synthetic turf for hockey keen on entering the Dutch market. While most deviations from the FIH quality standards are minor, the different view on shock absorption and energy restitution players should experience, posed a particular challenge for them.
It would force them, more or less, to develop two versions of their product: one to satisfy the international hockey community and one to satisfy Dutch market. To Dutch tufting companies this would be less of an issue, as their proximity to the market would likely guarantee reasonable sale of their product in the Netherlands anyway.
Work in progress
At present, a working group is busy reviewing the various national and FIH standards before they will decide which sections have to be rewritten or adjusted. Once that process has been completed, it will have to be reviewed by the national board that governs the new Kwaliteitszorgsystem. If all goes well, the harmonized standards could become effective by early next year. A transitional period will be introduced to ensure synthetic turf hockey fields installed in accordance to the pre-2023 quality standards, will still quality for use as long as they will pass basic performance tests.