ESTO welcomes new members

Following the recent annual Congress in Murcia, ESTO has welcomed a number of new members; further strengthening the organisation’s position as the authority on synthetic turf in Europe.

Here we profile three new ESTO member organisations – Greenfields, Italgreen S.P.A, and Sports Lab – with more to feature over the coming weeks.

With products marketed in over 170 countries, GreenFields is focused on developing, producing and installing artificial turf systems. As a TenCate Grass company, there is a strong collaboration within the group, sharing a common goal of raising sport to a higher level. GreenFields’ artificial grass is used by many professional clubs and its variety of turf systems offer a solution for every level of play for clubs around the world.

Italgreen S.P.A has been a global leader in synthetic turf production for over 35 years, having gained top references worldwide through an innovative and wide product range. With surfaces available for a range of sports including tennis, football, golf, hockey, rugby and more, Italgreen remains at the forefront of the artificial surfaces market.

From testing stadiums of elite professional sports clubs to local authorities’ facilities, Sports Lab is one of the industry’s leading specialists in sports surface testing. Sports Lab regularly tests over 600 fields, tracks and courts each year for a wide base of clients, which includes major sports governing bodies including FIFA, World Rugby and IAAF.  As well as testing of surfaces, Sports Lab also specialises in other areas such as the design and project management of new sports facilities, with a proven track record in providing expert facilities since 1998.

Why Join ESTO

As the industry’s leading organisation responsible for the provision of information and advice relating to appropriate synthetic turf solutions, ESTO offers numerous opportunities for organisations operating in the sector.

ESTO brings people together to discuss and research the future of synthetic turf, and provides a forum for different parties to meet and communicate from across the supply chain. It is dedicated to promoting the benefits of synthetic turf and works with governments, sports’ governing bodies and other organisations to address critical issues and matters relating to the welfare of ESTO and its members.

ESTO is also a platform from which members can promote their businesses and gain access to industry-wide research and insight to support the development of the synthetic turf industry.

ESTO and STC Joint Statement on the September 12 Zembla Story ‘The artificial grass mountain’

The European Synthetic Turf Organization (ESTO) and Synthetic Turf Council (STC) are very disappointed to hear about alleged illegal dumping of synthetic turf at the end of their life in the Netherlands. We believe that all synthetic turf pitches should be recycled, reused or disposed of in a responsible manner, and our members have developed and continue to improve on processes to do so. In fact, the result produced by our members is of such high quality that they can use or sell the final product as a replacement for virgin materials, and these materials are sought after by companies in the synthetic turf industry and elsewhere. Additionally, our members at the forefront of technological advances that will one day make it possible to create synthetic turf for both pitches and landscape applications made solely of sustainable materials. Further, the ESTO and STC have developed numerous technical guidance documents, which are available to download for free on the ESTO and STC websites, to educate owners of synthetic turf about the best ways to dispose of their turf in an environmentally responsible way. These documents are part of our commitment to the responsible removal and disposal of synthetic turf installations.

Feel free to contact STC President & CEO Dan Bond or ESTO Chairman Stefan Diderich should you have any questions.

2018 weather justifies investment in synthetic turf gardens

The weather conditions Europe has been experiencing this year provide a perfect business case for property owners to invest in synthetic turf for their gardens or public spaces. Apart from making the garden less dependent on good weather to remain lush and green, studies show that synthetic turf will also increase the value of their property and the well-being of its occupants.

Weather conditions this year are extreme but certainly not unexpected. Climatologists have been predicting such conditions for years, and they continue to warn that more is to come. According to their forecast the average temperature will go up by almost two degrees in the next 50 years. They also predict long, hot, dry periods to occur more often in Europe. This puts many municipalities, farmers and property owners in a predicament. The long and dry period experienced between May and July this year was aggravated by a lack of rain, leaving authorities all over Europe with no other option than to prohibit the excessive use of water for irrigation. As a direct result, many grass fields, parks and gardens have turned brown or have completely faded. They have become an eyesore that will require considerable time and resources to be rehabilitated. The knock-on effects should not be underestimated. The contributions a green and lush environment can make on people’s general well-being or their perception of improved security is well-documented. A Dutch study has even highlighted that the value of real estate would jump by 10% when the garden was lush and green. Given the fact that most gardens and public spaces around the globe use natural grass and vegetation, those studying colour psychology agree that it is the colour that matters and not the material of which items have been made. Belgian and Dutch landscapers have now jumped on the bandwagon by offering a painting service that will make gardens look green and lush, a service well-received by real-estate agents eager to sell properties.

Grass the first to suffer

Virtually every garden has a significant section covered with grass, making it the most obvious sufferer from severe heat or water restrictions. Due to the limited root zone, grass struggles to find adequate water supplies deeper below the surface. Scientists of Wageningen University (WUR) in the Netherlands, reported mid-July that the summer weather conditions had resulted in grass all over the country being 17% less lush than usual. In some parts the number jumped to 37% less lush than usual. Unless action could be taken immediately, the scientists feared that grass, particularly in those areas in the Netherlands where the soil predominantly consisted of loose sand, would become a steppe. The subsequent unknown and uncomfortable picture this would create could affect public perception significantly.

Safer surface

Synthetic turf is not affected by weather conditions. It doesn’t require water to maintain its colour or condition and the carpet has been specifically designed to drain rain quickly, no matter how severe the down-pour is. The carpet prevents heat from affecting the soil directly underneath, thereby slowing down the dehydration process of the surface and its immediate surroundings. The engineered design of a synthetic turf surface for gardens also provides a much safer surface. In the absence of any reliance on water, the soil underneath the carpet always remains loose instead of turning into a solid, compact surface with characteristics comparable to concrete.

No heat-stress

The believe that synthetic turf surfaces are warmer than a natural grass surface, is a persistent urban legend that is ill-considered. Most gardens include trees, or have trees in the immediate vicinity. It is likely that the foliage of the tree prevents solar radiation from heating up the synthetic turf surface in the first place. Producers of landscaping products also have a tendency to use very thin and shaped fibres, thereby reducing and distorting the surface that could possibly absorb or reflect the heat. Even if it would be established that all this fails, special additives could be added to the master batch from which yarn is produced. An increase heat reflecting characteristics of the fibers will reduce the heat absorbing capacity of the fibers and, as such, any possible heat build-up over the synthetic turf area by as much as 10%.

The adverse weather conditions of 2018 have certainly had an impact on natural grass sports fields, public places and domestic gardens. If the predictions made by climatologists are anything to go by, the future certainly looks bleak. An article recently published in the scientific magazine Nature hinted that the high temperatures measured during the summer of 2018, could reoccur in the coming four years. The authors predict that the oceans have started releasing the heat they absorbed during a break in global warming that occurred between 2000 and 2014. In less than twelve months we will know if their prediction has any merit.

The hot and dry summer of 2018 might have offered many people perfect conditions for a short but well-deserved break. An investment in synthetic turf for gardens and public spaces might now be worth considering as this will ensure reduced stress levels throughout the year. In the end, using synthetic turf in gardens, parks and public spaces, will guarantee that things will always look greener.

ESTO appoints new Executive Chairman

On June 1, Stefan Diderich took over as Executive Chairman of ESTO. He succeeds Nigel Fletcher, who has led the Association for 8 years.

During his long career in the turf industry, Stefan has held various positions in sales, marketing and general management. Stefan has been an active ESTO member during his periods at both Ten Cate Grass and Bonar Yarns and has also served as a Board member of the STC for 3.5 years.

Stefan comments, ‘Synthetic turf has become my passion ever since I started in this industry. I am very excited and honoured for being asked to serve the industry and to work together once again with the many great professionals and friends in this industry whom I got to know so well over the last 15 years. You can expect me to do my utmost to bring the ESTO to the next level together with you. There are a lot of challenges ahead of us, which we will deal with as one united front.’

ESTO Innovation Award 2018 winners announced

Advanced Sports Installations have received the ESTO Innovation Award for 2018.

They are one of three ESTO Companies to receive the award, which was voted for by the Sports Industry and ESTO Membership.

ESTO Awards 2018

ESTO is pleased to announce the winners of the Individual and company innovation awards.

All awards were voted by ESTO members and the wider Synthetic Turf and Sports industry.

ESTO Lifetime Achievement Award

NIGEL FLETCHER, pictured above, has received the lifetime achievement award by the synthetic turf industry. 8.5 years as part-time Executive Chairman of ESTO, 2010 to 2018 and 5.5 years as project manager of FIFA, 2005 to 2010. During his time at FIFA he oversaw the synthetic turf programme.

ESTO Contribution to the Industry Awards

FRIEDEMANN SOELL, Director of Polytan, in addition being a long term ESTO Council member, Vice President of ESTO and ESTO  Finance Director.

ENRICO BURIANI, pictured above, CEO of Radici Group. Former Chairman of ESTO, long time serving council member and currently ESTO Chairman of the technical committee.

ESTO 2018 Innovation Awards 

Three organization received The ESTO 2018 Innovation awards. These were DOW, ADVANCED SPORTS INSTALLATIONS and STRASSENKICKER.COURT project and THE LUKAS PODOLSKI FOUNDATION.

Further information on the innovation 2018 awards will be communicated soon.

Van Donge & De Roo Stadion in Rotterdam

Van Donge & De Roo Stadium (former name until May 2017: Stadion Woudestein) is a football stadium in Rotterdam, located in the Kralingen district. The stadium, which is home to the Eredivisie side Excelsior Rotterdam, is one of the smallest professional football stadiums in the Netherlands with 4,400 places. Since 2010 it is also one of the few to use synthetic turf pitch.

The history of Woudestein starts at the same time as the foundation of Excelsior in 1902. The club, which at first only consisted of a group of young people from the Kralingen neighborhood, played its first matches on a site at the Woudesteyn estate. In 1907, the football players had to clear the field after a decision by the municipality of Rotterdam to rent out the land on which the stadium was located to a manager of a racing stable, who wanted to organize horse races here. The racecourse was not a success, and for 50 guilders a year Excelsior was allowed to play their matches at Woudestein again. The bad state of the field turned out to be problematic when the club promoted to the ‘Overgangsklasse’ in 1921. The NVB approved the site, and again they had to look for a new home. After having played alternately on the fields of Sparta Rotterdam, Feyenoord, CVV and VOC, Excelsior was able to go to the new Kralingen Sports Field on the Toepad from August 1922 onwards. However, this sport park did not have a long life: at the end of the 1930s the site was designated for the construction of a marine barracks.

The club returned to Woudestein, which after a thorough renovation – where a tribune and a dressing room transferred from the Toepad – could be used again. During the Second World War it was not possible to play in the stadium because it was occupied by anti-aircraft guns. During the hunger winter, the complex had to be guarded to prevent people from using the stands as firewood.

The capacity of 8,000 places turned out not to be enough in the successful period after the Second World War, and the club had to regularly move to Stadion Feijenoord. Through some expansions, the capacity was increased to 11,000, with the possibility to build emergency stands. The next major renovation took place in 1958, when the first covered standing stand in the Netherlands was built with the help of supporters on the north side. The construction was taken into use on 14 September of that year. Excelsior still played in the second division at that time, but after two consecutive promotions in 1970 he was the division leader, which had positive consequences for the number of spectators. On October 7, 1973, a new Elascon seating stand was opened, which gave place to 2000 supporters. It would become the last major adjustment for a long period. The club is jojode a lot between the different divisions, and was regularly in financial trouble. In order to pay Woudestein players and maintenance, supporters gathered old paper for years, which earned Excelsior the nickname former paper club.

By the 1990s, it had become severely outdated though, and the club looked into sharing a ground with Sparta Rotterdam. These plans fell through though, and instead they decided to renovate Woudestein. Two new stands were built, including a new main stand with business seats, resulting in a capacity of 3,500 seats. Stadion Woudestein officially reopened on 31 July 2000 with a friendly match against Feyenoord.

in 2010, one of the stands was named after Robin van Persie, who played in the club’s youth academy. The same year saw a synthetic turf pitch having been installed. In the same year the club also switched to an artificial pitch. In 2016, following Excelsior’s promotion to the Eredivisie and their first two successful seasons in the top flight, the club decided to expand the stadium by filling two out of four corners and upgrade the hospitality facilities. This raised capacity to the current 4,400 seats. In 2017, Stadion Woudestein got renamed Van Donge & De Roo Stadion following a 10-year naming rights sponsorship deal.


Stayen, Sint-Truiden

Stayen is a football stadium in the Belgian city of Sint-Truiden and the home stadium of football club Sint-Truidense VV. The stadium was built in 1927. The name Stayen is Sint-Truidense dialect for “Staden”, an old quarter of the city. From the fifties to May 2009 the name was written as Staaien. The stadium is nicknamed the Hell of Stayen, according to the defeats that top clubs regularly endure.

Sint-Truiden was founded in 1924, initially played on a site on the Tongerse Steenweg and later on the Montenakenweg. Thanks to Alfred Wauters, then director of sugar factory Mellaerts, a new site was built on the Tiensesteenweg, on grounds of the sugar factory. The first season on the new arena resulted in Sint-Truiden being promoted (for the first time) to the national division.

During the Second World War, on 24 August 1944, the stadium was destroyed in an air bombardment. In 1948/49 STVV played for the first time in the First Division (then the Second class). A covered grandstand was built, with 600 seats. In 1952/53 there were also pitches and showers were installed in the changing rooms. In the meantime, STVV reached the highest level in Belgian football for the first time in 1957/58. In the season 1965/66, the season that STVV became vice champion, a record number of over 20,000 spectators were present at Staaien for a match against Anderlecht.

In 1981/82, when STVV played in the Second Class, Staaien got new stadium lighting with light poles. In 1983 a new modern complex came on the site of the old canteen and stand stand. After a new promotion to the First Division in 1987, the stadium was further adapted and renewed. The main stand was rebuilt in the autumn of 1988. The capacity at that time was 16,000 places. In August 1989, Staaien also received a new turf, with mature grass that was imported from the Netherlands. In order to protect the pitch, reserve and youth teams from now on played their matches on a different field.

In 1990 a new stand was added and two years later two blocks with business seats were installed. In 2001, a new complex was set up behind the main stand, with various facilities such as a press room, a café and extra sanitary facilities. In 2003, the stadium was further modernized and a standing stand was replaced by a new seating stand with more than 5,000 seats.

In 2008, the Truidense club started to build a stand on the street side. This tribune includes a party room, a gym and some offices. There was also a hotel on the corner with the grandstand. The stand was completed in February 2009, after which a new main stand was started. This main stand should also be multifunctional. For example, space would be provided for offices on the corner of the two new stands. The cost of the two new stands amounted to 35 million euros. The new stadium was fully finished in May 2014 and seats 14,600 spectators, 3,530 of which are pitches. The number of spectators can be extended to 17,850 with inside seats and additional mobile standing stands (without refurbishment), of which 5,280 standing places.

At the home games of Sint-Truiden, an average of 9,000 supporters finished on average in the 2015/16 season.

For the 2011/12 season, Stayen was the first Belgian first class stadium to receive an artificial turf pitch.


Stade Marcel-Picot in Nancy

The Stade Marcel Picot is a stadium located in Tomblaine, France, on the banks of the river Meurthe, about 2 kilometres east of the city center of Nancy. It was built in 1926 and has been used by Ligue 1 football team AS Nancy. Since summer 2010, Stade Marcel-Picot is one of the very few French stadiums equipped with synthetic turf.

Stade Marcel-Picot was opened on August 8, 1926, but only in 1935 the first ever football game was played on the premise, after the club AS Nancy was founded. The stadium initially consisted of only one real stand, with the rest of the stadium consisting of earth banks arranged in the form of a series of steps. The first new stand, called the Hazotte Stand, was built in 1973, and that resulted in an official capacity of more than 25,000. That official capacity, however, was significantly surpassed in a match against Saint-Etienne in 1976, resulting in a record attendance of 30,384 visitors. In 1978, the athletics track was removed and replaced with two new stands behind each goal.

Stade Marcel-Picot underwent a large redevelopment between 1999 and 2002. Three stands were completely rebuilt and the Hazotte Stand enlarged and refurbished, resulting in a fully enclosed modern stadium. During the renovation of the stadium, the leaders took the opportunity to pay tribute to two great Nancy players, Philippe Schuth and Roger Piantoni, by giving their name to the two stands behind the goals and previously called Marmite and Chaudron. Stade Marcel-Picot was initially selected to be one of the playing venues of the Euro 2016 tournament, which would have involved an expansion to a capacity of over 30,000 seats. The project, however, encountered funding difficulties, and the city of Nancy decided to withdraw from the tournament.

Today, the Marcel-Picot stadium looks like a fully enclosed arena with a seating capacity of 20,087 seated and covered seats. Comfortable and spacious, the stadium offers optimal conditions to welcome an audience of supporters, but also family in complete safety. Another expansion project is planned, bringing the stadium capacity to 32,000.

Nancy, alongside Lorient, was the first French professional club to have installed a synthetic turf pitch in 2010. The €1.5 million installation cost was a great investment which allowed the arena to host concerts and other events.




Stadio Dino Manuzzi

The Orogel Stadium – Dino Manuzzi located in Cesena, Italy is the home ground of  A.C. Cesena currently playing in Serie B. The stadium which can now hold 23,860 spectators was the first Italian football ground which had synthetic turf field installed.


Initially constructed in 1957 the stadium had no seats at that time, just two terraces. Only after AC Cesena won their Serie A promotion in 1973 the stadium was greatly expanded and could hold 30,000 spectators. The venue was called La Fiorita from its construction until 1982, when it became named after former Cesena president Dino Manuzzi. In 1988 the stadium underwent a complete restructuring where all of the existing stands were demolished and then rebuilt. The new capacity was reduced to 23,860 but this time those places were all-seated.


At the beginning of the 2011/12 season, the pitch was converted to a synthetic turf playing surface, with A.C. Cesena becoming the first club to do so. On 13 August 2011, at the end of the Italy – Japan rugby match, fans were allowed to enter the pitch and take a cut out of grass with them. This peculiar action was a symbolic act of commemorating the natural pitch which was then replaced with synthetic turf.


As a part of Italy’s Euro 2016 bid, the Dino Manuzzi stadium was included and there were plans to invest close to €30m on the stadium. The planned changes included an increase in capacity to over 31,000 new press boxes, VIP lounges and media boxes. This fell through after Euro 2016 was awarded to France.


Besides A.C. Cesena, another Italian club using the synthetic turf is Novara Calcio.