As part of the ongoing research and development regarding artificial turf, now called Football Turf, FIFA have carried out substantial research regarding the technical and performance analysis of playing on football turf. As a consequence FIFA have investigated a fundamental question: does the game change on Football Turf compared to matches on natural grass?
To answer this question in an objective and independent way, FIFA commissioned UK-based company ProZone to carry out the study. The study was measurable as ProZone could track every pass and movement through video technology. A 100-match analysis was carried out featuring the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, the Dutch Premier League and the FIFA U-20 World Cup Canada 2007.
Established in 1997, ProZone is the world leader in delivering performance analysis solutions for team-based sports. ProZone is a fully integrated software system which provides advanced technical, tactical and physical information on team and player performances.
Sensors provide accurate data
The process uses between one and ten fixed sensors positioned on both sides of the stadium to capture and measure every player and ball movement accurately throughout the whole game. ProZone currently work alongside over 60 professional football clubs and numerous associations and federations throughout Europe, the Middle East, South Africa and the US, offering post-match analysis, scouting services, referees evaluation and real-time feedback.
Their comprehensive study conclusion was that "there are no significant differences in the objective data from the technical studies to date focusing on football turf versus top-quality natural grass."
Other key findings included that the ‘ball in play' time for matches was extremely similar on Football Turf and natural grass; 55-56 per cent of the game on average, players enjoyed a similar number of touches on the ball on both surfaces and no notable differences were observed in terms of the passing success rates.
And finally, although players are more likely to perform ground tackles on grass surfaces (one in four challenges against one in five on Football Turf), this did not correlate to the number of fouls and yellow cards awarded, which was greater on the artificial surface.
To read more about the studies carried out by FIFA and ProZone, please click on one of the links to the right.