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Sunday, June 2, 2024

Will we’ve dry synthetic turf by Paris 2024?

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Thierry Weil dropped a small bomb final November in his very first FIH congress that has gone unnoticed principally by hockey followers and -media. Talking concerning the taking part in floor Weil introduced mainly two components:

  1. He known as upon suppliers for turf, ball and footwear to work collectively in direction of the aim of a dry synthetic turf by Paris 2024. The FIH desires no extra waterbased pitches by 2024 in occasions the place water is a scarce useful resource all over the world.
  2. Hockey could be performed on any floor! At this time elite hockey requires waterbased pitches. that necessities has been abolished, although for the main world occasions it’ll nonetheless be upheld.

Media and hockey followers heard solely the second comment and translated this into “hockey could be performed on pure grass once more”. Creating false hope amongst Pakistani and Indian hockeyfans eager for the great ol’ days of their supremacy on grass all over the world.

The important thing of Weil’s message – in my view – was by no means a couple of return to pure grass however fairly hockey could be performed on any floor. Waterbased pitches aren’t the one and solely possibility anymore for aggressive occasions. That is one thing we are able to all agree upon I believe. It’s widespread sense.

His first comment nevertheless is considerably extra controversial. No extra waterbased pitches by Paris 2024 for the elite occasions is a noble aim, however perhaps not a really sensible aim.

Let’s hearken to his phrases from this announcement throughout the FIH world congress in New Delhi, India from November 2018…

So following this message from the FIH CEO Thierry Weil, we determined to search for an business skilled to inform us extra on their new developments relating to infrastructure. Arnoud Fiolet from The Netherlands is an entrepreneur behind a number of hockey associated companies. He’ll clarify his firm Leisure Methods Worldwide has 6 divisions, all associated to sport and most additionally to hockey. Take heed to our podcast (roughly half-hour of your time) with Arnoud Fiolet with the hyperlink beneath… or learn on 😉

Synthetic turf was first launched throughout the Olympic Video games in Montreal in 1976, so over 40 years in the past already. In 1986 the FIH determined all main elite occasions have been to be performed on a waterbased pitch. However nonetheless at the moment the vast majority of hockey video games all over the world are nonetheless being performed on grass, pure grass or a dust pitch that after was a grass pitch.

So why do elite gamers want the waterbased pitch?

  1. A moist floor will transfer the ball extra shortly on the floor.
  2. Excessive pace abilities will result in extra 1v1 eliminations.
  3. A extra constant ball roll with much less sudden deviations permitting for extra abilities.
  4. It is going to permit for particular abilities such because the drag flick.
  5. It permits for gamers making a sliding with out accidents.
  6. Constant play throughout dry warmth or wet climate.
  7. Higher shock absorption resulting in much less accidents.
  8. Decrease floor temperatures in scorching climates for a extra snug taking part in expertise.

What are some the FIH necessities for the floor of the longer term?

  1. Comparable efficiency to present waterbased pitches all all over the world.
  2. Comparable taking part in circumstances in a scorching and dry local weather to moist wet climate.
  3. No additional threat for accidents.
  4. Recycling potentialities with much less impression on the atmosphere.

However most all what’s vital to the FIH is the necessity to develop the game globally with the intention to keep away from a brand new scare of being faraway from the Olympics as we needed to endure in 2013 after the London Video games. Hockey wants it’s Olympic standing!

As Weil professed the FIH wish to play in Paris on the Video games from 2024 on a dry floor. However to ensure that our sport to stay Olympic in 2028 when the Video games might be held in LA, a area on this planet troubled by extreme water points ánd a area the place our sport shouldn’t be well-known it appears to be crucial to have an answer by 2028.

Two different causes for questioning waterbased turf would the additional price wanted to construct these installations and extra points relating to upkeep. Further prices in comparison with turf with none water (which means our present sandy synthetic grass fields) would on common be between €50.000 and €100.000. Annual upkeep efforts would even be extra complicated due for instance to the well-known algae issues in these moist environments…

Options anybody?

It’s not well-known, however the FIH requested the identical query to take away water from the equation to turf suppliers earlier already. In 2004 the FIH requested to provide you with an answer by the 2012 Video games in London.

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Nonetheless the FIH request was ignored by the business again then. Primarily as a result of most of their focus went to soccer as a result of their want for synthetic turf was rising very quick in these days. At this time the expansion within the extra vital soccer market has stabilised and can shift in direction of hybrid options anyway. However we should be sensible, our sport at the moment is a distinct segment sport for the business nonetheless. Why would they spend lots in analysis to develop a waterfree resolution with nonetheless all these particular traits solely hockey is asking for? No different sport at the moment has this drawback of utilizing an excessive amount of water on their turf, so there isn’t a one round to share the burden.

FIH is concerned in a world challenge for a so known as “one turf idea”, along with soccer and rugby. A multi-purpose resolution match for all sports activities. However let’s not child ourselves, this resolution might be primarily for soccer and rugby and fewer fitted to the quick paced recreation of hockey. It is going to permit for a slower model of hockey however cannot assure the present quick recreation of hockey. As a result of that’s the principal drawback. Turf manufactures and all concerned must reconcile our very particular calls for relating to each grip and sliding. If hockey can be keen to decelerate our recreation to the pace of soccer much more may be attainable however then we might be betraying our recreation the place pace and abilities are what makes our sport distinctive.

So what now… is our name for a dry turf, appropriate for hockey, destined to fail? In all probability… however what is feasible is to scale back the necessity for water considerably!

Eliminating water appears unimaginable, however much less water might be the best way to go.

Present turfs use as much as 18.000 liters of water per recreation per pitch. Which is a gigantic quantity and cannot be accepted all through many of the world. However new turf options at the moment have managed to scale back the quantity of water wanted drastically already to roughly 6 to 7.000 liters/recreation/pitch. It’s not unimaginable to go even additional and cut back the necessity for water to 2 or 3.000 liters/recreation/pitch on common which might nonetheless be an issue for many locations all over the world however that is at the very least a step in the suitable path.

So sure, it’s OK to dream of a dry turf sooner or later for our recreation of hockey with out giving in on specs that make our sport distinctive (pace) however for now let’s get actual and give attention to decreasing the water wanted drastically as an alternative of dreaming of the “unimaginable”…

The true and solely vital change is the choice to permit any floor for aggressive occasions in hockey. Although clearly the principle occasions globally ought to nonetheless be performed constantly on the identical floor… and for now this stays a waterbased pitch. The most important benefit is for these nations or areas on this planet with difficulties to offer sufficient infrastructure as much as worldwide requirements. They’ll now select to play their occasions, nationwide and worldwide, on any floor. Synthetic turf, pure grass, panel methods, sand, concrete, hardcourt, gravel,… indoor or out of doors, no matter is on the market. The message is: hockey ought to be performed wherever anytime. This can assist develop the sport of hockey!


Particular because of Arnoud Fiolet from Leisure Methods Worldwide to share his experience with us on these issues. Be certain to check out a few of his different options to assist develop the sport of hockey, comparable to air domes, sports activities panels, talent parks, and so forth…

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