Schaffhausen 2000 - Accuracy of Artificial Athlete - Rules of Standardization - Lab Accreditation

S08 Minutes of TM


28th & 29th September 2000

PRESENT - See attached list.

AGENDA - See attached sheet.


The Chairman, Ed Milner, welcomed everyone to the meeting.


Ron Wilson introduced the first item which was to be a series of short presentations from various manufacturers of ‘New Generation' synthetic turf. Unfortunately no presentations were forthcoming. Hugo de Vries made a plea for a realistic performance specification for these New Generation turfs.

Later in Session 1, Desso DLW gave a presentation on their systems, which prompted a number of questions. Ian Beswick said that if the infill is topped up regularly, how do you stop the composition of the infill changing? The reply was that with the Desso system, most of the sand goes to the bottom of the pile and most of the rubber stays on top, therefore you top up mainly with rubber. Charles Lawrence asked what guarantee Desso offer on their New Generation turf system. The reply was that they do not give a clear answer. In reply to a question about the adequacy of the pile height, Desso said that 35mm pile height was enough in their opinion. Claudio Negroni of UEFA stated that UEFA do not have any ‘approved list' of synthetic turf products.

The next presentation by Charles Lawrence was on maintenance and renovation of these new systems. He said that he thought probably about 100 pitches using New Generation turf had been installed over the last 6 years. Originally, sand-filled systems had been described as maintenance free, but as result of a lack of maintenance many pitches became unplayable prematurely. His concern was that we should be getting it right this time. We know that textile surfaces outdoors will get contaminated and they will compact. The New Generation turf systems with a deeper pile will get contaminated to a greater depth. Also pile and infill compaction will be more pronounced because of the greater depth. The fibres will crush. Also play will disturb the infill more, especially in high traffic areas. Abrasive wear will cause fibrillation. The effects of abrasive wear might be more pronounced with the new turfs because of the longer pile.

So how does one counteract these problems? One of the important aspects is to keep the surface free from contamination. If you attempt to vacuum the surface, you might remove infill as well as contaminants. You might mix up the infill layers or disturb the mixture.

The recommendations are that doing nothing is not an option. The industry has to develop maintenance methods that work effectively at increased depth of pile. It must also explain properly to its clients that maintenance is necessary.

Hugo de Vries asked if the laboratories can use accelerated wear and ageing tests to predict the life span for these New Generation turfs. Ed Milner explained that no laboratory tests can accurately predict how long a pitch will last. Charles Lawrence said that the manufacturers and installers should be responsible for the warranties they offer for these new systems. Hans-Jörg Kolitzus asked what was a responsible maintenance regime for a sand-filled turf pitch. Charles Lawrence replied that regular brushing (at least weekly) with a drag brush. After 2 or 3 years the pile should be slightly loosened using a contra-rotating brush. After 5 years complete rejuvenation should be considered. Then the regime should be started again. However, as far as the New Generation turfs are concerned, he did not know what should be done, but monitoring now is needed to start to identify what is happening to the surface over longer periods of time. Hugo de Vries wanted durability requirements laid down by the laboratories. Ed Milner said that this is not possible. Dominique Boisnard said that they can simulate compaction in the laboratory, but they cannot simulate contamination or other environmental influences on this, which in any case are very site specific. Ed said that manufacturers should run tests to identify the adequacy of their systems before they install them for their clients.

The next presentation was by UEFA with the assistance of Rolf Hediger. He talked about the installation of the UEFA trial pitch at Nyon. First of all they asked the manufacturers for technical information on the systems they offered. They investigated the possibility of visiting installations but rejected this, instead they asked for trial areas to be installed on the site. Player feedback resulted in the selection of one system. The pitch contract involved removing the old carpet but leaving the existing ‘E-layer' in place. They changed the pile infill rubber from SBR to EPDM. They agreed on a Force Reduction of between 60% and 70%. The contract includes for 8 years of maintenance by the installer. Three test institutes were asked to test the pitch and although the results were still being evaluated they do reveal a number of discrepancies.

Claudio Negroni is the Secretary of the UEFA Stadia Committee and he explained that every meeting discusses the New Generation synthetic turfs. The view of UEFA is that these new systems are great and are a perfectly valid alternative to natural grass. Properties are very similar to natural grass, but more development is needed so that they improve even more. At present, UEFA will only allow its matches to be played on synthetic turf for junior and women's leagues. Its priority is to promote the development and use of New Generation turfs. A UEFA/FIFA working group has been set up to assist this process.

Hugo de Vries asked how any UEFA approval system would operate. Claudio Negroni replied that UEFA can agree to the use of synthetic turf but it will be up to the National Federations whether or not to approve a pitch.

Hans-Jörg Kolitzus talked about the different test results on the Nyon pitch from the 3 test institutes. There were variations in some methods which need discussing. However, the results confirmed that the performance of the New Generation surface was very similar to natural grass.

Charles Lawrence asked if specific test laboratories would be accredited by UEFA. The reply was not at this time.

Juan Dura asked if real football players had been used for the player feedback assessment. Claudio Negroni said that players of varying standards using the facilities had been involved. Players are now asking if they can train on the synthetic pitch rather than on the natural grass pitches. Training takes place every day on the synthetic pitch.


Ed Milner gave a presentation in which he explained how the ASTM system works in the development of consensus Standards. His paper is attached to these Minutes.

Hans-Jörg Kolitzus said that the system appeared to be a better one than the system under which DIN operates.

Charles Lawrence asked the speaker for his view on the role of Trade Associations in the development of standards. Ed Milner replied that under the ASTM system, a Trade Association delegate would have only one vote, whereas if individual companies joined a committee they would each have a vote.

The next presentation, on DIN 18035 Part 7, was by Hans-Jörg Kolitzus. A copy of his paper is attached to these Minutes. He compared the requirements of the first edition published in February 1993 with a second edition published in August 2000. He said that the issue of a second edition violated the CEN agreement that work on National Standards should be frozen once CEN work was under way.

Hans-Peter Knauf explained that the second edition was only a draft. Also the DIN Committee was considering how its requirements would be affected by the New Generation turf systems. Hans-Jörg Kolitzus replied that even so, industry was often asked to comply with the requirements of draft standards. Charles Lawrence agreed with this. Cay Hegermann said that they had asked CEN for a ruling on the draft DIN and were told that CEN were not concerned provided the document was clearly marked as a draft.

Rolf Hediger asked what would happen in Germany if UEFA or FIFA introduced their own requirements for synthetic turf. Hans-Jörg Kolitzus replied that there would be disputes.


Mark Harrison gave a presentation, with the assistance of Bernd Härting, on the accuracy of the Berlin Athlete, as shown by the first round of the ISSS Certification Programme. A copy of his paper is attached to these Minutes.

Peter Breuer asked how people can rely on the results from different laboratories. Mark Harrison replied that every test is always subject to a degree of uncertainty and this needs to be defined for every method.

Karl Meyer queried the spread of results obtained on different samples of the same system. The reply was that samples of solid polyurethane track surface can vary a lot depending on how they are made. This reply was also backed up by Gunnar Andreasson.

Ed Milner said that the aim of the round-robin programme of tests introduced by the ISSS was to identify areas of difference and correct them. This was a positive and not a negative.

Al Guy said that the IAAF had been aware of certain problems and he was heartened that this ISSS programme was going to resolve them. He had always looked on the relationship between manufacturers, test laboratories and the IAAF as a partnership. He hoped to be able to recommend to the IAAF that a new Working Group is formed to explore the areas of difference between the various parties.

Juan Dura gave a presentation on a study made by IBV which explored the relationship between test results on a number of athletics tracks and the opinions of athletes. A copy of his paper is attached to these Minutes.

Konrad Binder gave a presentation on the mechanisms for auditing test laboratories. A summary of his paper is attached to these Minutes.

Although that concluded the published programme, Ralph Bergs of Conica asked to make a short statement on Force Reduction. He said that many companies have Test Certificates that show their solid polyurethane surface products can meet the minimum IAAF requirement for force reduction, but a lot of them are unable to install the product such that the completed track can meet these same requirements. This is obviously causing them difficulties. He made a plea for the continued acceptance of solid systems which had served the industry well for approximately 30 years.

The Chairman, Ed Milner, closed the meeting by thanking everyone for their attendance and gave a special thanks to all those who had contributed whether by giving presentations or making points during the discussion periods.


Cagliari: 25 & 26 October 2018

The ISSS has successfully concluded the AGM and the Technical Conference in Cagliari. Scientific and Individual Members present accepted financials, audit report and activity schedule as presented.
Details Here