Surfaces are becoming more sport-specific and those for field hockey are no exception. The International Field Hockey Federation (FIH) has launched new standards for surfaces that host events.
The standards are currently available for download from the FIH website.
In October of 2015, FIF announced its “Quality Program for Hockey Turf,” intended to ensure that good quality hockey fields are available at all levels of the sport, focusing on ensuring sustainability, affordability and accessibility of fields worldwide.
The recently released standards build on this program, creating additional specifications for turf, fields and hockey5s courts. (For an explanation of hockey 5s, go here.)
According to FIH:
The new Standard is published in four parts. Part 1 is a general guidance for those considering a new hockey facility. Part 2 defines the FIH Approved Products and the performance and durability standards to achieve. Part 3 describes the performance and construction requirements for a hockey field. Part 4 of the Standard is similar to Part 3 but describes the performance and construction requirements for small sided hockey facilities used for Hockey5s and other versions of mini-hockey.
One of the major changes put forward by the new standard is a focus on encouraging manufacturers to develop surfaces for use at the higher levels of the sport that require less water, with the desire that they will eventually be able to produce surfaces that perform as a Global category Hockey Turf without any water. This complies with the earlier goal of sustainability.
(Manufacturers of synthetic turf will likely have much to say about the creation of fields that use no water whatsoever.)
In addition, FIH notes, the new standard includes an expansion of the multi-sport categories of hockey turf approved by the FIH. The new standard has categories that will enable sports such as tennis, lacrosse and netball (the latter is played mainly outside the U.S.) to be hosted on hockey fields and courts.
ASBA will keep its readers updated on further developments in this area.