Equipment safety: practical guide to choosing football goals
Fixed, folding, for standard football games, seven-a-side or five-a-side: there are many types of goals available. All must comply with common safety measures to avoid accidents. Mondo Ibérica penned down these basic requirements.
When choosing football goals, the dimensions of the field, the number of players, the location on the field of play, what type of net they will have, whether they will be fixed or not must all be taken into account. It also matters how you are going to transport and store the equipment. But safety is another requirement that must always be taken into account. To minimize the risk of accident, European regulations already establish how goals should be and what safety requirements they must meet.
When it comes to acquiring goals, knowing the reference standard – and requiring the vendor to provide documentation and certificates that guarantee that their equipment meets them – are the best guarantee so that there is no need to regret accidents. The best guarantee is when an external laboratory has issued a certificate that certifies the goals to be compliant with the European standard. However, it must be taken into account that sometimes products are purchased for which certification is presupposed and whereby the certificate indicates that the design is in accordance to the standard. That is not enough: it is necessary to claim the aforementioned certificate together with the technical sheet from the external laboratory.
Safety and regulatory framework
What rule determines how football goals should be?
The UNE-EN 748: 2013 + A1: 2018 standard on playground equipment focuses on football goals, detailing the functional and safety requirements and what test methods should be used. The standard is applicable to four types of goals and two different sizes, excluding both those included in the standards UNE-EN 16664: 2015 (lightweight goals) and UNE-EN 16579: 2018 + AC: 2020 (those that have a weight greater than 10kg, with the exception of goals with the sizes of 5m x 2m and 7.32m x 2.44m with a weight greater than 42 kg (which are included in the UNE-EN 748).
Other related reference standards are UNE-EN ISO 1806, which covers the breaking force of mesh for nets, and PNE-EN ISO 2307, on the physical and mechanical properties of fiber ropes.
Security criteria to take into account
For the entire goal: Visible corners, edges or edges should be rounded to a radius of at least 3 millimeters.
It must be sufficiently secure to withstand stresses during play and transport and must not be deformed. The posts and the beam must be of the same section and can be made in one or more pieces. In all areas of the frame where entrapment may occur, the net supports must not have downward angles less than 60º or openings with a diameter of less than 230 millimeters. The counterweight football goal frame must incorporate a fixed counterweight that is part of the ground frame itself.
The frame must be white or the natural silver color of the light metal and must be made of steel, light metal or plastic material provided that it complies with the requirements of the UNE-EN 748: 2013 standard. It must be protected against corrosion (as are the boxes, tie rods and masts for the upper tension rope).
The net must be attached to the frame without being taut and the top tension rope must be attached to the net so that it does not slip. The net, for its part, must be suspended freely, so that when a ball enters it cannot immediately rebound. The restraints must be designed in such a way that the players cannot injure themselves. Open metal hooks should not be used and if elastic hooks are used, they should be fitted with screw caps.
The net yarn can be made from natural or synthetic fibers, while synthetic ropes or cables should be used for the upper tension rope. The net fasteners must be made of non-corrosive metal or plastic material.
The boxes must be adapted to the diameter of the masts and should be placed in a concrete block, ensuring the insertion of a drainage hole.
The stringer must not break, collapse, or show permanent deformation greater than 10 millimeters if a vertical force of 1800N is applied at the center of the stringer for one minute.
The goals must always be fixed, whether they are being used or not, to avoid the risk of tipping over. Likewise, it must be prohibited for any person to climb onto the net or the goal frame.
The soccer goals with boxes and mast for the support of the net with boxes; those that have support for the network and boxes on the ground; as well as the goals that have fixings to the ground must not fall or slide when a horizontal force of 1100 N is applied in the upper part of the center of the crossbar for one minute.
On the other hand, counterbalanced goals must not fall when, after placing blocks that prevent their sliding, the same horizontal force is applied for one minute.
Documentation and labeling
The goal manufacturer must provide written instructions for assembly, installation and maintenance. The instructions should emphasize that when the goal is not in use, it must also be fixed to prevent it from tipping over.
The goal itself, for its part, must have a permanently affixed warning label stating that it is designed only for football and not for other uses, that it must always be affixed and that it is forbidden to climb onto the net or frame .
The goals must also contain information that their manufacture is in accordance with the UNE-EN 748: 2013 standard, as well as the name or brand of the manufacturer, marketer or importer, the year of manufacture of the frame and the type of net.
Before using the goal, check the good condition of all its elements and that all the fixings are fully adjusted. These reviews should be carried out periodically, as often as possible. At the slightest suspicion of risk, do not use the equipment.
Design and functionality
There are different types of goals according to various criteria:
Depending on the section of the profile of the goal frame, it can be circular or oval, the latter being the one used in high competition.
Depending on the sporting modality, we can find 11-a-side, 7-a-side and 5-a-side football goals, each with different sizes.
According to its construction, we find four models:
1. With rear posts: Vertical posts are anchored behind the front posts of the goal frame so that the net hangs from behind. The rear posts are higher than the front posts and must be anchored to the ground with their corresponding anchor. The net that is placed is called a box model net and is different from the normal net that is placed in the back arches goal. They need space behind, that’s why they are normally only placed only in 11-a-side football on the main field, although there is also for 7-a-side football.
2. With back arches: The net hangs backwards from arches in the shape of a square that come back from the upper rear part of the meeting between the crossbar and the post.
3. Folding: The frame (front posts) is not anchored to the ground because the metal structure perfectly supports the whole. Behind the frame there are rear posts that are anchored to the ground by means of expansive studs. These rear posts can be positioned at different distances from the front posts of the frame thanks to a telescopic system and fold down sideways. It is usually used for the cross fields and they are left folded sideways when playing in the center field.
4. Portable: They have wheels and are not anchored to the ground. They are moved from one place to another and used for training. They need a very large base so they don’t tip over.
Other questions to take into account
Safety and design are first-order factors when making the decision to purchase this equipment, but other criteria must also be taken into account in the choice: Does the manufacturer have certificates issued by external and independent entities that support its bet on quality in its processes and for the safety of its workers? Are you committed to sustainability both in your organization and in your production processes? Are you committed to Corporate Social Responsibility?
Among other quality and safety guarantees that can be requested from the manufacturer, importer or distributor are ISO 9001 (quality management), ISO 14001 (environmental management) and OSHAS 18001, the standard that certifies safer work environments for the workers. These sensitivities and the commitment shared with the client to improve the environment and society are, on many occasions, what make the difference.