Last June, France hosted the UEFA Euro 2016. Every one of the ten stadiums chosen to host these matches were specially built or renovated for the occasion.
Among those stadiums, four were equipped with AirFibr hybrid turf technology: Lyon (Parc OL), Toulouse (Stadium), Saint-Etienne (Stade Geoffroy Guichard) and Bordeaux (Matmut Atlantique). Two stadiums opted for a rival hybrid technology (Desso Grassmaster): the Stade de France and Parc des Princes. The remaining four (Nice, Marseille, Lille and Lens) opted for traditional soil/sand sod turf, mainly for deadline reasons.
Strong rain and intense use
Turf surfaces were really put to the test during this Euro. First and foremost, because of the increase in the number of teams. The Euro 2016 was the first edition with 24 competing teams instead of 16. With 8 additional teams, the number of matches, as well as the number of training sessions, increased from 31 to 51. This intense use of the pitches was further exacerbated by June’s disastrous weather conditions, with 2 ½ times the rain than usual for the season, and 30% less sun than average.
This intense use combined with the poor weather conditions, rapidly resulted in the deterioration of certain competition pitches leading to some controversy. Yet, despite these extremely unfavourable conditions, most competition pitches remained in excellent condition. The four AirFibr pitches in particular, which were unanimously applauded by players and spectators alike.
Throughout the competition, pitches in Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse and Saint-Etienne continued to look good on TV and in stadiums. The choice of hybrid turf plus the exceptional work put in by the greenkeepers kept their quality with the highest international standards.
Commenting on AirFibr’s billiard-like quality, Martin Keller CEO of UEFA Events: “the quality of the pitches was perfect for the game”.
AirFibr: The Euro 2016 leading hybrid turf technology
AirFibr was the leading hybrid turf technology during the Euro 2016 and its four pitches quality were remarkable. Developed by Natural Grass, AirFibr is 100% natural turf rooted into a synthetic substrate made up of synthetic microfibers, cork granules and fine sand.
AirFibr is the first sports surface to combine three usually incompatible properties: resistance, shock absorption and flexibility. Its resistance is the guarantee of a top quality pitch all year round, whereas its shock absorbing properties ensure up to 40% reduction in the risk of injuries among players. Last but not least, the AirFibr sodding solution is one of the most flexible option for the management of multipurpose stadiums.
Following the success of AirFibr pitches during the competition, Lille, one of the stadiums that came under the most criticism during the competition for the poor quality of its natural turf, has decided to change to AirFibr.