A look at synthetic turf in the Faroe Islands

As of January 2012, Faroe Islands had a total of 22 registered football clubs; with 20 full size synthetic pitches, the highest ratio in Europe from a club to full size pitch perspective, with the Government paying 25% of the cost for each field as told by Virgar Hvidbro, General Secretary of the Faroe Islands Football Association.

Player participation in males under 18 has seen a 7% increase since 2004. Faroe Islands has a population of only 48,000 people, with the highest percentage of football participation in Europe and a particular fascination with English clubs. The football season follows the summer months and is played from April to September, with occasional brave forays into October.

According to Heri Nolsøe, director of the most successful club in the islands, Havnar Bóltfelag, (Harbour Football Club), “The weather in winter is very special and the wind is very heavy”. As the popularity of the game grows the need for pitches increases. Due to the harsh climate, growing and maintaining a grass pitch is incredibly difficult. While there is plenty of light during the summer, and plenty of rainfall, it doesn’t get warm enough for vigorous grass growth. Grass pitches soon wear out with regular use and cannot grow fast enough to repair. Most towns, and even the smallest villages, have artificial grass pitches which are used by everyone including schools for all types of sports as well as football. With nostalgia for the punishing days of old sand pitches, Nolsøe said, “It is much easier for players these days”.

By the year 2020, It is estimated that there will be an additional 10 full size synthetic football turf pitches in the Faroe Islands.