Those who follow soccer, especially during the winter, often assist in matches that are postponed due to bad weather and pitches that turn to mush which increases the risk of injuries to athletes. A solution to these problems can be the installation of synthetic turf fields in place of natural grass. Top flight French football club Olympique de Marseille (OM) discovered the benefits of synthetic turf. In the summer of 2010, it was decided to replace two fields in the Robert Louis Dreyfus training center.
With the latest generation of synthetic turf clubs have access to pitches in perfect condition during both winter and summer. Another aspect that should convince organizations to switch to synthetic turf is the low maintenance cost. Although the construction and development are more expensive than natural grass, a synthetic field is more cost effective over time. Synthetic fields remain unchanged for more than 10 years, downtime is not required to grow grass, and it can be used as often as needed. It is calculated that a synthetic field can hold up to 1,728 hours of play per year, compared to 200 hours for a natural grass field.
The impact that the decision to move to a ground with synthetic turf may have on environmental protection, starting with the implementation of the land, is significant. The production cycle, in fact, uses 70% of raw materials derived from recycling. The mat placed under the ground allow to reuse the pellet derived from secondary raw materials to be recycled without polluting the environment and safeguarding the health of athletes. In total with the construction of a synthetic field 47.6 tons less CO2 emissions are entered into the environment. Another interesting aspect results from the reduced maintenance a synthetic pitch requires: savings of 90% in water consumption and 100% of fertilizers and pesticides normally used for natural grass.
Another aspect to consider in favor of the latest generation of synthetic turf is tied to the number of injuries avoided. The medical staff and the management of Olympique de Marseille were very pleased with the results obtained with their new training fields. More precisely, they noticed players had less muscle and tendon fatigue, due to improved shock absorption and energy return. Another problem inherent to old synthetic turf that has been resolved was the risk of blusters and burns. Falling on an old synthetic field meant getting painful skin burns, now this problem no longer exists. So with synthetic turf being on the rise, why are there only just a few teams opting for this solution? This is clearly a psychological question because synthetic turf is now similar in effect to a well maintained grass field. Biomechanical studies showed 30% fewer injuries on last generation synthetic turf when compared to natural grass.