A close up of an artificial football pitch.

Getty Images - An artificial football pitch.

Loughborough’s FIFA collaboration paves way for turf testing

It’s hoped a partnership involving Loughborough University and football’s governing body will improve the durability, safety and performance of artificial pitches.

FIFA have this week issued new testing methods and introduced new testing devices which will be used to assess artificial playing surfaces in line with the highest industry standards.

The changes are the first since 2015 – when the FIFA Test Manual for Football Turf was last updated.

Prof. Steph Forrester from the University’s Sports Technology Institute said: “With the development in artificial pitches since the standards were last updated, it was important that we assess the move in technology and implement a new foundation for testing to take place. More and more football is being played every week and these artificial surfaces need to be able to handle it.”

“As part of the FIFA Football Turf Technical Advisory Group, we’ve worked incredibly closely with FIFA and Labosport to finalise these new tests which looks to ensure pitch quality across the globe whilst developing new, safe and sustainable innovations and technologies.”

Work at the University led the development of a new advanced artificial athlete algorithm – providing a comprehensive insight into the surface’s performance by measuring peak shock absorption, peak deformation, and energy return – and a lighter and more advanced rotational traction athlete test - providing a deeper understanding of the surface’s rotational traction characteristics.

For more detail on the new testing methods, visit Manual’s I and II.

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 24/52

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2023 QS World University Rankings – the seventh year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2024 and 10th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.