Paris-based company Natural Grass has revealed in a press release that Arsenal installed an ‘AirFibr’ pitch at London Colney in April.
The hybrid grass technology, composed of a 100% natural grass rooted in a patented rootzone made up of synthetic microfibres, cork granules and fine sand, was given the green light after a two-year test on a goalkeeper training area.
Natural Grass claim that their AirFibr grass reduces the risk of injuries among players by up to 40% and is proven to be softer for players returning from existing injuries. We’re not quite sure how they came up with that figure, but they claim it’s verified by Prof. P. Rouch from the Arts & Metiers ParisTech biomechanics Laboratory.
Presumably it relates to specific types of injury…either way, it’s interesting that we’re revisiting our playing and training pitch situation. It has long been speculated that ‘hard’ surfaces could be a factor in our historically bad injury record.
The Gunners are the first Premier League club to introduce the technology with West Ham recently following suit. Real Madrid and Lyon have also installed AirFibre pitches at their respective training grounds while Euro 2016 stadia in Lyon, Toulouse, Saint Etienne and Bordeaux also featured the hybrid turf.
Back in February 2015, it was revealed Andries Jonker had been testing other hybrid grass surfaces with a view to making a purchase for the Hale End youth academy facilities.