The AFL and Cricket Australia today announced an extension of its Licensed Manufacturers arrangements for the next three years under the AFL/Cricket Australia Synthetic Turf Program.
Following an Expression of Interest process, five leading synthetic turf manufacturers have entered into Licensing Agreements with the AFL/Cricket Australia program for the period of 1 January 2014 – 31 December 2016. Those manufacturers that are licensed to manufacture and install approved AFL/Cricket Australia synthetic surfaces are:
The AFL/Cricket Australia Synthetic Turf Program was established in 2009 following a research project with the University of Ballarat to determine if the two sports could be played on a synthetic turf surface.
Following the research project, the AFL and Cricket Australia endorsed the playing of community level football and cricket on an approved synthetic product.
Given that the majority of ovals at a community level in Australia are jointly used by both cricket and football, it was important for both sports to work together to develop a solution that worked for both parties.
Executive Officer of the AFL/Cricket Australia Program Mr Ricky Bell said that through the establishment of a Licensed Manufacturers program, the two sports could control the quality of the products being produced and installed.
“Ensuring that any fields installed meet our standards from a quality, safety and playability perspective – both now and into the future – is critical for both sports. Through our Licensee program we can work with Australia and the world’s leading synthetic turf manufacturers to continue to produce high quality synthetic fields that mimic the properties of natural grass playing surfaces,” he said.
“It is pleasing to see that these five companies, all of whom have significant experience in producing synthetic grass playing surfaces across a number of sports, see the value in working with Australia’s two favourite participation sports, in continuing to develop our synthetic turf product.”
The AFL’s Facilities and Project Manager Mr Ken Gannon, said that synthetic turf surfaces was an important part of the facilities mix for the AFL as it heads towards one million participants nationally.
“We know that the availability of ovals at a community level is critical to growing participation. With synthetic turf ovals able to cater for up to three times the use of natural turf grounds and not be affected by weather variability, it makes sense that we use synthetic to assist in meeting the demands of our increasing participation,” he said.
Mr John Watkin, Cricket Australia’s Senior Manager Game Development, echoed Mr Gannon’s comments.
“As cricket participation continues to climb, it’s critical we continue to support the record number of men and women, boys and girls, who are playing the game around the country.
“Being able to get more use out of less space is of benefit to both our games and with the pristine nature of a synthetic field, with consistent level outfields, it can only assist in encouraging more people to play cricket,” he said.
Since the development of the AFL/Cricket Australia Synthetic Turf Program, three synthetic fields meeting the standards have been installed, with several more currently in the planning stage.