Inspired by the concept used in Ligue 1 Uber Eats and Ligue 2 BKT, the French FA has decided to also roll out its pitch competition to its National and D1 Arkema competitions.
The competition will start from the 2023-2024 season. Only natural turf pitches will be evaluated. As synthetic turf pitches are expected to always be compliant and to deliver according to set requirements, this type of surface is excluded from the competition.
Led by the National Competitions Department and the sports grounds and facilities department, the system, modelled on the concept already in place in Ligue 1 Uber Eats and Ligue 2 BKT, aims to improve sports surfaces by relying on the experiences of the users (captains as well as referees) who rate installations based on established evaluation criteria.
This championship pursues three major objectives:
- Generate an increase in the quality of sports surfaces to improve the comfort of players, television viewing as well as reduce the risk of injuries while ensuring regulatory compliance (art. 184.108.40.206 of the FFF regulations for sports grounds and facilities)
- Create emulation within the stewardship teams by adopting a constructive approach in order to allow the sharing of experiences between the teams and to raise awareness among communities about the importance of the playing surface;
- Provide assistance to clubs in difficulty by identifying clubs sustainably below standards, the needs of the soil and the plant thanks to the expertise of a laboratory if necessary and by supporting the manager on the basis of the results of the expertise .
After each game, an evaluation grid made up of five criteria is completed by the two captains and the referee of the match who award scores from 1 to 20. Their rating is reported by the national delegates of the matches. A summary then makes it possible to obtain a weighted average per field, from which a ranking of the clubs results.
Soon, the ranking will be published on the FFF website and results are updated after each round of the championship.
The five evaluation criteria:
- Trajectory of the ball on the ground
- Softness / Hardness of the ground
- Quality of support (change of direction, acceleration, stopping, etc.)
- Quality of the plant cover (density, color, homogeneity, etc.)
- Overall assessment of the playing area and its surroundings (assistant referee corridors, warm-up areas, layouts, etc.)