Football turf maintenance seminar in Singapore

From Saturday December 6 to Sunday December 7 in Singapore, football turf maintenance was in everyone’s minds, as FIFA organised a two-day seminar for the south-east Asian member associations on the topic.

Football turf is a surface of choice in many south-east Asian countries, as tropical and equatorial climates make natural grass pitches a difficult infrastructure to take care of. By nature, football turf has more longevity, but that is only if it is well maintained – or else it can become a huge headache for the association or the club.

M. Lim Kia Tong, vice-president of the Football Association of Singapore, opened the seminar as the host country: “Good maintenance allows the use of football turf to be optimized. FAS has been the recipient of several football turf projects from FIFA and we are very grateful to FIFA for its support. Football turf is the right solution to combine hard climate and heavy usage in football.”

During the two days, the participants, composed mainly of infrastructure managers, but also competitions managers or even general secretaries from 20 member associations, received the latest knowledge on football turf maintenance from FIFA’s experts. From technical theory on maintenance, to very practical examples on the pitch of Singapore’s Jalan Besar national stadium, the seminar was about raising awareness on the importance of good maintenance of football turf pitches to maintain their quality.

“If you wait, even a few days, to react to some maintenance issues when they occur, you run the risk of losing the quality of your pitch entirely," said Ole Myhrvold, FIFA expert from the Norwegian football association. "There can be emergencies for football turf in case of bad maintenance. And you also need to maintain the maintenance equipment. All this will allow your pitch to remain viable for a longer period, and make your investment more valuable.”

From FIFA’s standpoint, such a seminar takes special importance when considering how much the world’s governing body has invested in football turf: “FIFA has funded and installed over 300 football turf pitches around the world," said Daniel Krebs, facilities manager at FIFA. "Therefore, it is very important for us that these investments are durable and this cannot happen without proper maintenance by the member associations.”

“For some, when we build the football turf pitch, it is over, there is no need to do anything anymore," said Alberto Balesteros Honasan, regional technical director in the Philippines. "But it is far from true – you need to maintain the football turf pitches daily. It is a commitment to keep the quality of the pitch, and over the long haul, it is definitely worth it as it costs much less than a natural grass pitch.”

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