What is the ‘One Turf Concept’?

The One Turf Concept is a collaboration between some of the world’s largest sports governing bodies to help ensure a high quality of the playing surfaces at multi-sports venues.

World Rugby, FIFA and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) have joined forces to develop a set of guidelines for multi-sport playing surfaces around the world. The key aim is to balance player welfare and performance with playability. This desire has led to the development and promotion of an initiative beautifully known as the ‘One Turf Concept’.

While being specific to multi-sport venues, the One Turf Concept can equally be applied to any artificial turf sports field which is not designed for use with one specific sport.

The federations which are involved in the project have vowed to continue their work with manufacturers and test laboratories to refine standards. The main aim being to increase the performance and longevity of all playing fields which are used for rugby, football and hockey matches.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont is quoted as saying “This is a fantastic example of cross-sport co-operation that will benefit grassroots sport all over the world. While the elite level of each code has a distinct need that often requires its own specific playing surface, 99 per cent of players fall outside that professional, elite group and have different requirements”.

Who is involved?

World Rugby, FIFA and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) have all joined forces in a unique collaboration to help develop this ground-breaking protocol. The One Turf Concept sees the main governing bodies of Rugby, Football and Hockey coming together to set a worldwide standard for all multi-surface playing fields.

After many years of collaboration on this project, including detailed discussions with industry leaders and key figures, the three sports federations have managed successfully to balance player welfare and performance with surface playability.

Having such high-profile organisations involved has helped to promote and develop the One Turf Concept further, bringing it to a global audience and helping the idea to grow.

Key Features of the ‘One Turf Concept’

– Creating a standard of specific player performance and ball interaction requirements.

– Providing guidance on simulating wear and tear to the playing surface due to climate conditions through regular laboratory testing.

– Promoting regular testing to ensure that the surface tested in the laboratory matches the surface which is installed on the field.

– Ensuring the regular testing of playing surfaces throughout their lifetime to fit with the One Turf Concept.

Why does it matter?

At a local level playing surfaces can be a very scarce resource. For example, in inner city areas, where several sports could share a playing surface, the One Turf Concept is a really important development. In places where the high costs of land dictates that pitches and facilities need to be shared between several different sports the development of this concept is quite literally a game changer.

This works really well in places such as Finland who have been focusing hard on promoting football as a popular spot. Currently their most popular participation sport is hockey while they are active in many sports, as can be seen on the country’s sports sites. This cross over and pitch sharing helps to promote both sports to opposite sets of fans and players so it’s a win-win for emerging or borderline popular sports.

Equally in developing countries where resources are scarce and money is tight, it will allow a greater range of sports to be showcased and played safely on just the one surface. This is key when it comes to promoting sports such as rugby, football and hockey throughout the developing nations of the world.

Player welfare is also key to the founding of the One Turf Concept. The specifications of the playing surfaces within the concept ensure that everyone can enjoy access to safe and high quality playing facilities wherever they are on the planet.

The One Turf Concept aims to revolutionise how shared sports grounds are used and enjoyed around the world. It’s a bold ambition, but one that looks ever closer thanks to the involvement of some key sporting figures, thought leaders and governing bodies.