Since the country gained its independence in 1991 and the Association of Football Federations of Azerbaijan (AFFA) was formed, the governing body has always championed the use of synthetic turf.
With over 360,000 registered players nationwide, the AFFA has supported synthetic turf installs at both community and professional levels; in the country’s capital of Baku alone, there are four stadiums with FIFA accredited synthetic pitches.
In March 2010, Azerbaijan was awarded the 2012 under 17’s Women’s World Cup; the first time that the competition would be held in Europe since its inception in 2008.
The tournament was hailed a great success and proved that Azerbaijan was capable of hosting a sports competition on an international stage; Baku has already bid twice to host the Olympic Games and governing bodies including the AFFA are investing in facilities nationwide.
The use of synthetic turf is consequently becoming more widespread, combatting many issues caused as a result of the country’s varied climate and, as ESTO executive chairman Nigel Fletcher comments: “The prevalence of the surface in Azerbaijan really shows the power and impact synthetic turf can have in developing football and sport in general.”
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