• Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Updated FIFA Test Manuals now available

The new documents have been drafted in close cooperation with the FIFA Technical Advisory Group (TAG) a group that consists of representatives of the various approved producers of FIFA Football Turf systems, testing institutes and industry bodies like the EMEA Synthetic Turf Council (ESTC).

‘FIFA Basic’: an additional norm

The current FIFA Quality Pro and FIFA Quality marks for football turf will be complemented by a FIFA Basic standard.
This standard describes a minimum quality a field must meet to be validated, and validation is only done through a field test. It is introduced to validate, in particular, small-sized pitches with a minimum size of 25x16m. Fields that meet the criteria will only be issued a test-report and not a certificate, while confirmation of passing will only be valid for three months.

Criteria FIFA Quality Pro go up

Synthetic turf products that want to be certified FIFA Quality Pro will have to pass 6,000 cycles on the Lisport XL. This is twice the number of cycles that systems are currently subjected to.
No significant changes are reported regarding the current FIFA Quality standard.

New product developments

To support the development of new infill solutions (preferably from local sources), the Frozen test, which establishes how infill materials perform in freezing temperatures, has become optional. Following the trend to introduce fibres with recycled content, FIFA describes in the new manual the requirements for such product.

Non-filled or mineral-filled system are still not approved for either FIFA Quality or FIFA Quality Pro installations.

Test methods

The skin abrasion test has been removed. However, a particle size analysis (of infills) has been added, which will use additional sieves to analyse the infill particle distribution. This is in response to the idea by some companies of introducing polymer infills that have particles that measure larger than 5mm to avoid them being classified as a microplastic.

New test criteria

The Advanced Artificial Athlete (AAA) will use a new algorithm to establish the impact attenuation of a surface. Instead of taking the average of three drops, the new method will require only one drop. The updated AAA device is now able to measure peak shock absorption, peak deformation and energy return, providing a comprehensive insight into the surface’s performance. The revised testing process includes a single-drop method and a new contact pressure threshold.

The manual also includes a new method to establish the Rotational Traction (from now on called the Rotational Traction Athlete test), HIC testing (in a laboratory) and an adjustment of the vertical ball rebound test. The lighter and more sophisticated RTA apparatus enables the determination of rotational shear stiffness, torque at 10° and the existing peak torque measurement, thereby providing a deeper understanding of surface rotational traction.

The inclusion of the Head Injury Criterion 1000 test in the manual underscores FIFA’s commitment to player safety. The test assesses the surface’s ability to mitigate high-energy impacts, establishing a minimum critical fall height requirement of 0.60 metres. Although it does not provide a direct assessment of head injuries, the test aims to prevent injuries by avoiding excessively hard surfaces.

New approach

The new manual is easier to read as it contains more visuals/pictures, while the text has been simplified compared to the previous manual.


Guy Oldenkotte

Guy Oldenkotte is senior editor of sportsfields.info and has been covering the outdoor sportssurfaces market and industry since 2003

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