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FIFA Pitch Research Field Day

FIFA Pitch Research Field Day United States

FIFA organized a gathering in Tennessee as a component of one of its multi-year initiatives. Labosport was delighted to send staff to participate in the FIFA Pitch Research Field Day, including Keith Mcauliffe with Labosport Australia, Craig Parry and Darren Symonds with PSD/TGMS UK and, Dr. Baoxin Chang with Thomas Turf Services, USA.

The event began with a comprehensive series of seminars covering topics vital for the success of World Cup events.

Seminar 1 provided insights into the preparations for the 1994 World Cup, emphasizing the innovative use of indoor low-light facilities and the management of turf under such conditions. The upcoming World Cup in 2026 was highlighted for its unprecedented scale and the challenges posed by ensuring uniformity and consistency across multiple venues. Specific standards for stadium construction were outlined, including requirements for natural grass surfaces, integrated irrigation systems, and advanced pitch technologies.

Seminar 2 focused on disease scouting, emphasizing the importance of understanding the disease triangle and implementing effective management strategies to minimize disease presence. Key pathogens for different grass species were identified, along with cultural and chemical control practices.

Seminar 3 addressed herbicides and plant growth regulators (PGRs), emphasizing the importance of selecting appropriate chemicals for turf management while avoiding those that may inhibit turf establishment or cause long-term damage.

Seminar 4 delved into irrigation and sustainability practices, showcasing FIFA’s efforts to promote water conservation and encourage better irrigation techniques within the industry. Various irrigation auditing and scheduling techniques were discussed, along with the benefits and challenges of using recycled water for irrigation.

The day concluded with a series of practical demonstrations and discussions at a research facility, covering topics such as ball-surface interactions, hybrid carpet systems, flex testing, and the concept of shallow root profiles. The following day was intended to include a tour of Neyland Stadium but was impacted by rain, leading to more networking opportunities and roundtable discussions on World Cup organization, field testing, and carpet systems.

The event provided valuable insights into the latest research and best practices in turf management, highlighting the ongoing efforts to enhance the quality and sustainability of playing surfaces for FIFA tournaments.

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