Dublin's Aviva Stadium officially opened in May 2010 and is Ireland's only UEFA Elite Stadium. The state of the art venue, built on the site of the old Lansdowne Road stadium, is home to many high-tech improvements in stadium technology, including top class pitch floodlighting and advanced treatment facilities for players. Further evidence of this attention to players' well-being was the pitch itself with the specification of the Fibrelastic rootzone system from Mansfield Sand Company.
There has been much attention recently on pitches that are less than 'player-friendly'. The free draining surface characteristics required by groundsmen and stadium operators can sometimes result in a firmer pitch. This in turn can have a detrimental impact on the injuries sustained by players - especially on limbs and load bearing joints.
Ireland's No 1 sportsground contactors, Clive Richardson Ltd, (CRL Ltd), were tasked with building the pitch for the stadium. Understanding the demands and requirements of the new stadium, Fibrelastic Rootzone was chosen by the FAI and the IRU for a 'world class pitch' in a 'world class stadium'.
Not only has Fibrelastic been independently tested by the Sports Turf Research Institute, but clubs that already use the Fibrelastic system such as Newcastle, Glasgow Rangers, Fulham, Wolves, Plymouth, Bristol City & Llanelli Scarlets have had fantastic feedback from players, physiotherapists and groundsmen.
Player injury can be frustrating for a chairman, manager, player and fans, but the cost of an out of action player can also be financially damaging to a club. With this in mind Mansfield Sand Company developed the Fibrelastic rootzone system to ensure a more forgiving, resilient playing surface. Fibrelastic rootzone comprises silica sand, organic matter, rigid polypropylene fibres and flexible elastane fibres which produce an 'elastication' of the pitch. As a result the surface is less tiring and more 'player friendly' with injuries to knees, ankles and lower backs less likely to occur. It also makes the surface less prone to disturbance, giving ball players a better grip.
As a testimony to the player-friendly nature of the technology, the Aviva stadium's first major game played on the Fibrelastic pitch was Ireland XI v Man United on August 4th, after which Michael Owen commented that it was "the best pitch he had ever played on".
Fibrelastic is also great news for the groundsmen at the Aviva stadium, as the pitch is less prone to divots and scar damage, without compromising its excellent hard-wearing properties. Damage to the surface is minimal, and the stadium even hosted the Leinster v Munster rugby game, only five days after a large concert in the stadium that required the pitch to be covered for ten days, without needing to be re-turfed. Drainage is not compromised by these hard-wearing benefits, and in fact those who maintain to Fibrelastic pitches have noted that aeration is not needed as often.
For more information about Fibrelastic technology visit www.fibrelasticturf.co.uk or contact Russell Latham on 0044 (0) 7887 527 382