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Celtic’s pitch worries won’t dent Champions League progression

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Will this make a difference to the Bhoys? Some say Celtic aren’t used to playing on artificial surfaces and that give HJK the advantage. So, flip this argument over, Celtic should have had the advantage while they played the on grass in the home leg?

Neil Lennon believes the pitch may give HJK an advantage, but wont use that as an excuse if the Bhoys become unstuck: “We will go into the game with a positive frame of mind. We have got a very good, vibrant young team and it will be an important step in the right direction if we come through this tie. It will take this team forward.”

Professional footballers are just that, professional (in most cases). Players should have the ability to adapt to conditions and not let any barriers stand against their desire to win, whether its synthetic pitches or not. Personally, I think Celtic’s main worry should be Sebastian Mannstrom, he gave the defence a few problems last time around and set up the away goal, or possibly Joel Pohjanpalo, the 17-year-old making the headlines, we’ll wait and see.

So, here’s a summary of what Celtic will be playing on tonight, and hopefully secure the win to bring European nights back to Paradise.

Prediction: 2-0 Celtic (Samaras, Commons)

What is “Football Turf”?

According to FIFA.COM: “FIFA now feels it is appropriate to use “Football Turf” as the designation for artificial surfaces installed as part of the FIFA Quality Concept. The main reasons for this are that this designation underlines the high quality of the pitches that are certified as part of the programme and the playing characteristics of “football turf” mirror the quality of natural grass pitches that is required to play the game at a very high level.”

Testing Details

FIFA now feels it is appropriate to use “Football Turf” as the designation for artificial surfaces installed as part of the FIFA Quality Concept.

The main reasons for this are that this designation underlines the high quality of the pitches that are certified as part of the programme and the playing characteristics of “football turf” mirror the quality of natural grass pitches that is required to play the game at a very high level.

FIFA Quality Concept for Football Turf

The FIFA Quality Concept, a guarantee of premium quality and consistency, is now a respected international industry standard. With its commitment to first-rate artificial surfaces, FIFA is responding to the growing demand for playing football on football turf – chiefly in regions where the climate makes it impossible to organise football matches on good natural turf all year round.

The FIFA certification and licensing programme, which was launched in February 2001, means that purchasers of football turf can rely on the FIFA RECOMMENDED endorsement when making their decisions. This endorsement is a mark of outstanding quality, optimum playing comfort and regular checks by FIFA. Artificial turf has been around for decades – but only recently, since manufacturers first developed surfaces tailored specifically to the needs of football, has it been a truly viable surface for football matches.

Football Turf

FIFA now feels it is appropriate to use “Football Turf” as the designation for artificial surfaces installed as part of the FIFA Quality Concept. The main reasons for this are that this designation underlines the high quality of the pitches that are certified as part of the programme and the playing characteristics of “football turf” mirror the quality of natural grass pitches that is required to play the game at a very high level.

Test Procedures

The FIFA RECOMMENDED marks are only awarded to those artificial turf pitches which have passed a series of stringent laboratory and field tests. Natural grass in ideal condition is the benchmark for these FIFA test criteria in order to insure highest playing comfort and constantly improve the quality of artificial turf football pitches.

Therefore every turf product must first pass laboratory tests to determine its composition and then must be tested for durability, joint strength, climatic resistance, player-to-surface interaction and ball-to-surface interaction. If it passes all these tests, then this completes the first stage of the process towards the award of the marks.

In the second stage every installed pitch must be tested on site. Firstly, specialised field-testing equipment measures how the ball reacts on the surface in terms of roll, vertical rebound and how the ball behaves when it strikes the surface at an angle. Then it must similarly be tested to see how it reacts to the actions of players -including shock absorbency, surface deformation, slip resistance and traction. In addition, the reaction of the turf to the skin of the players, when sliding on the surface, will be measured in form of skin abrasion and friction for the higher of the two FIFA RECOMMENDED levels.

If the artificial turf pitch passes all the laboratory tests and all the field tests then it will qualify for one of the two FIFA RECOMMENDED marks. The marks will only be given to an installed pitch and not simply to the turf carpet. This is because the underlying base surface is just as important to the playability of the pitch as the turf itself.

FIFA RECOMMENDED quality levels

Based on player surveys, medical research and test results, as well as on information from the industry, the existing standard (FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 STAR) was supplemented with a second standard (FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 STAR) in the summer of 2004. The development of this second standard aims to satisfy the most rigorous demands in professional football and further improve the playing conditions and safety of football turf pitches.

The FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 Star is mainly for recreational, community and municipal use; however, it still has to go through a series of stringent tests before the highly respected FIFA certificate is issued. Indeed, there are only 50 pitches around the globe which carry this mark.

The FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 Star for artificial turf is designed specifically to mirror the playing characteristics of professional football. FIFA final round competitions and top UEFA competitions have the FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 Star in their respective competition regulations.

Other Clubs Have Which Have A Similar Pitch?

Honesfoss – Norway
FK Bondo – Norway
Alesund FK – Norway
Alloa – Scotland
Montrose – Scotland
Stenhousemuir – Scotland
Dundalk FC – Ireland
Spartak Moscow – Russia
New England – USA
New England Patriots – USA

Written by Chris Derry

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