0 Questions answered on goal post safety

Goal post safety

By Editor

We have had a number of requests from members asking us to clarify the rules and regulations surrounding football goals. Further to these enquiries I have pasted some relevant information from the FA website below, although the full technical details on football goals can be viewed on the FA website by clicking here.

Goals for football-Technical details

If you use goalposts, you must make sure that the goalposts are safe before you use them. You must be clear about maintaining them. You must follow the manufacturer's instructions and notes or the facility operator's instructions if this is appropriate. If you have a question about the safety of goalposts, you should speak to the relevant facility operator or manufacturer.

Facility operators and manufacturers should make sure that they are aware of the latest developments in goalpost safety and should read the relevant codes of practice or standards at all times.

Goals that are acceptable under these technical details may be made from metals or plastics. Some of the details vary depending on the type of material from which the goal is made.

We do not recommend using wooden goals. During our research programme (Devereux Earle Sport and Leisure - July 2002) into the strength of goals, we tested or inspected many wooden goals. We came to a number of conclusions.

- All the wooden goals which we tested broke.

- Since the goals tested were in apparently good condition, it seems likely that few wooden goals, if any, would pass the strength test.

- Wood is a natural material, so its properties will vary. This means that even if one wooden goal passed the strength tests, we could not guarantee that every similar goal would also do so.

- Perhaps more importantly, if a goal passed the strength or stability tests, it would not be possible to be sure that it would still pass at some later time, perhaps towards the end of the season or at the start of the next season.

- A painted goal may appear to be in good condition because the paint itself is in good condition. However, the timber beneath may be rotting.

- You must be wary of any wooden goal because you cannot be sure of its strength and condition.

Testing post safety

The only way to be certain that any goal meets the recommendations is to carry out a complete inspection and test of all the properties described in this document or in the relevant EN or PAS. It is not possible to create your own informal or partial test that will have the same effect as a formal test.

If you need to have a goal tested, the work should be carried out by an accredited test house. In the case of a new goal, the manufacturer should be able to provide a copy of a test certificate, showing that it meets all the requirements of the relevant standard.

The certificate should have been prepared by a test house which is not linked to the manufacturer.

The test house should preferably be:

- a scientific body member of the International Association for Sports Surface Sciences; or

- accredited by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service or an equivalent national accreditation organisation.

Cross-section of posts

The cross-sections of the goalposts and crossbar are given in the laws of the game. The goalposts and crossbar must have the same cross-section. They must be no larger than 120 mm by 120 mm and must be square, rectangular, circular, oval or elliptical (see figure 1). For Futsal, both the posts and the crossbar must be 80 mm by 80 mm in cross-section.

There should be no exposed sharp edges or corners on posts, the crossbar or any other major part of the goal. There should be no pointed or sharp-edged parts sticking out. Screw threads which stick out should be permanently covered, for example with dome-headed nuts. Nuts and bolt heads which stick out less than 8mm should be free from all burrs. All welds should have rounded edges.

All corners and edges and any projecting parts which stick out more than 8 mm should be rounded off. All corners and edges should have a radius of at least 3 mm

Net attachments

There are various acceptable methods of attaching the net including plastic hooks, Velcro straps, cable ties and specialised net clips.

There are also different designs of plastic hook. Some screw directly into the goal. Some are fixed to the goal using an expanding plastic rivet, while others clip into a slot in the goal. We do not recommend using hooks of any type which stick out on the uprights. Simple 'cup' hooks are not allowed. You must remove any which you are still using immediately. This type of hook was banned by the 1998 amendment to BS EN 748.

The FA told all English county football associations, leagues and clubs about this amendment in early 1999. We plan to do so again in early 2004. You should also consider what might happen to any net attachment if it breaks or bends in use. The design must mean that no sharp edge or point will be exposed or created if a break does happen and that no point will appear where part of the body could get trapped if the fixing bends.

Goal stability

All goals must be stable, so that they do not fall over when a horizontal force is applied to the crossbar. Metal goals, when tested using the method of the appropriate standard with a force of 1100 N, must not tip over or slide across the ground.

Plastic goals weighing less than 18 kg, when tested using the method of the appropriate standard with a force of 300 N, must not tip over or slide across the ground. We recommend that plastic goals weighing 18 kg or more should be tested in the same way as metal goals. Both PAS 36-1 (for metal goals) and BS EN 748 state that the goal must be stable when it has a force of 1100 N applied to it. PAS 36-2 (for plastic goals) uses a force of only 300 N. The justification for this is that plastic goals are lighter, so will cause no harm if they fall over. This justification is reasonable for goals which are light in weight. However, a heavy plastic goal is likely to do as much harm as a metal goal.

For that reason, the requirement for heavy plastic goals (in other words goals weighing 18 kg or more, as agreed by the working party) has been made identical to that for metal goals.

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