McArdle Sport Tec are delighted to build our 2nd RFU Rugby 365 incentive pitch at The Davey Field.

Shelford Rugby Club, known to their fans as ‘The Peacock Family’ are celebrating the handover and official opening of their brand new 3G rugby pitch construction at The Davey Field. Thanks to the RFU Rugby 365 programme rolled out across the country, nearly £1million pounds has been invested into the new facilities including new floodlights, fencing and artificial turf.

The new 3G rugby pitch construction built to meet World Rugby Regulations 22 standards, will have a positive impact improving the quality of training and match day experience for those participating at SRFC, but also for the surrounding local rugby partnership . Shelford Rugby Club have been based at The Davey Field since 1965, & secured a 10-year lease with the RFU; allowing the players 12 hours a week on the new facility. The new rugby pitch is available to not only Shelford RFC but also other local rugby clubs, schools, universities, colleges and sports clubs.

 So, what is the RFU Rugby 365 incentive?

After the Rugby World Cup in 2015, the RFU set out a legacy to invest more than £50m over a four-year period to develop 100 artificial grass pitches within the United Kingdom. The Rugby Football Union wanted to create accessible facilities & increase participation within the sport. It is anticipated that the Rugby 365 scheme will create over 50,000 available playing hours, enabling more training sessions and matches to take place. 3G rugby pitches are durable, safe, allowing all-year round play, which can withstand extensive usage.

Currently 6 pitches have been built on the Rugby 365 initiative, benefiting five new areas. McArdle are delighted to have worked in partnership with TigerTurf to install two of these 3g rugby pitch constructions: Hornets RC and Shelford RC. The RFU have reported that in four months of on-season usage since the initial first three Rugby 365 pitches opened; 250 matches have been hosted, & more than 30 festivals of rugby held plus over 20,000 players enjoying these new facilities. Once all the planned artificial grass pitches are built it is estimated that grassroots rugby will see 16,000 brand new members taking up the sport.

“Shelford Rugby Club and the client were extremely easy to work with.  The 3G rugby pitch installation went smoothly, and we are pleased to be involved in the RFU Rugby 365 incentive.  It is still early days, and McArdle have constructed two out the six initial pitches on the RFU Rugby 365 programme.  The pitch looks and plays brilliantly; and we are delighted with the positive impact we’ve been able to make on the local community.”

David Darnell, Contracts Manager for McArdle Sport Tec


We offer a comprehensive service from conception and planning through to design and construction.

How 3G rugby pitches transform the game for clubs and players

The safety and maintenance benefits of 3G Rugby Pitches.

World Rugby believes that the technology used in artificial playing surfaces has improved over the years, making it far more beneficial for players. The increased use of 3G (third generation) rugby pitch construction has meant that World Rugby has needed to set a new standard for the types of surfaces used.

The World Rugby Artificial Turf Performance Specification requires surfaces to be tested and approved at manufacturer level for organisations involved in 3G rugby pitch construction. All manufacturers and organisations must comply with these regulations if they want their products to be used for rugby.

Regulations in 3G rugby pitch construction

The World Rugby Artificial Rugby Turf Performance Specification has been designed as an important regulation, meaning that rugby cannot be played on any type of pitch, unless it meets these standards, more specifically Regulation 22 and Law 1 of the Laws of the Game. As 3G rugby pitch construction technology evolves over time, it’s likely that the specifications will change, especially as more research is being carried out to advance artificial playing surfaces.

The benefits of a 3G rugby pitch

There are not only safety benefits to players but also hugely reduced maintenance requirements for rugby clubs, meaning there is a long-term cost saving to be made when maintaining pitches to a high standard. By comparing natural grass pitches with 3G artificial surfaces, the latter clearly offers further advantages, including:

• A more attractive looking pitch with no muddiness or worn out areas
• No need to mow or apply pesticides/treatments
• Porous layers for improved drainage
• Shockpad underlay making it much safer for players

Why are artificial surfaces better for players?

Innovative 3G technology uses a synthetic fibre which has been made to imitate real grass, using rubber and sand granules. The older synthetic surfaces were initially produced only using sand, but manufacturers have found that rubber helps the synthetic grass to stay upright, reducing friction burns and grazing for players. The artificial 3G surface usually has a pile length of around 60mm and to meet the World Rugby Head Impact Criteria regulations, alongside the Rugby Union accreditation, it must be installed over a separate shockpad.

Accredited UK pitches:

See our recent 3G rugby (and other sports) pitch projects in our latest case studies:

…or contact our team to find out if a 3G pitch is right for your organisation.


England football Manager, Gareth Southgate officially opened our newest 3G football pitch at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium in February 2017. This was a Football Association and Football Foundation project, where we worked with TigerTurf UK to install their Atomic Pro 60 3G surface.

The importance of 3G pitch maintenance

Find out how keeping your pitch maintained can save you money and protect your players from injury.

3G pitches are a great alternative to natural grass.  They will enable you to play all year round and stop you having to cancel matches.  3G pitch maintenance is also a lot less time-consuming and costly compared to maintaining a natural grass pitch.

The artificial pitches are a significant cost so the maintenance is essential to protect the pitch and make sure it lasts as long as possible.

Arguably the most important factor in 3G pitch maintenance, is to keep the turf upright. Doing this helps support the elements of natural play such as traction, ball movement, and it also prevents player injury. There are a number of things you can do to help achieve this, including:

Wearing the right footwear

Boots are a big factor when it comes to 3G pitch maintenance. Flat soled boots/shoes are typically a no-go. They increase the rate of infill compaction and flatten the pile of the carpet. 3G pitches are rigorously tested and manufactured to withstand extensive play and last as long as possible, if the correct footwear is used. We advise using only moulded or screw-in stud football boots.

Regular brushing

Relying on a twice-yearly 3G pitch maintenance service isn’t enough. Regular brushing will keep the synthetic fibres upright and protect the infill and stop it from compacting. We suggest brushing the pitch weekly. This can be done using a compact tractor with a triangle drag brush.

Infill top ups

Those small black rubber pieces spread throughout the pitch are there for many reasons, including supporting the fibres and keeping them upright. Overtime amounts of infill will end up leaving the pitch and will need replacing. If you keep an eye on the amounts of infill when you’re brushing the pitch and top it up when you see necessary.

Winter weather maintenance

Snow and ice are the only instances that could potentially stop you from using the pitch. Heavy snowfall can freeze the fibres and make them brittle, which would increase the chance of damage to the pitch and increase the risk of injuries for players. If there has been heavy snowfall you will need to wait for it to thaw out and allow the water to drain away. As with many things however, prevention is better than a cure – laying vacuum dried salts on the turf before snow or ice is predicted can help prevent freezing from happening at all.

The cost of 3G pitch maintenance

A 3G pitch should cost an average of £5,530 a year to maintain. Compared with the yearly £48,000 needed for a quality natural grass pitch, 3G pitches come out on top, again!

Get in touch today if you need support with 3G pitch maintenance.

3G pitch maintenance

3G sports pitch testing – FIFA guidelines

Guidelines and testing for third generation sports pitches

Third generation (3G) pitches are artificial sports pitches designed to mimic the look, characteristics and performance of real grass. 3G pitches are filled with both sand and rubber to keep the synthetic grass dense and upright.

FIFA’s guidelines are in place to ensure that all 3G pitches are designed, manufactured and installed with player safety at the forefront. The all-weather pitches allow players to play football in its traditional manner, all year round. Pitches are durable and resilient with a lifespan of around 10 years.

3G pitch testing

At McArdle Sport-tec, we work closely with our clients to make sure we stay focused on their needs and comply with FIFA’s 3G pitch guidelines. We work in partnership with Tiger Turf UK who comply with FIFA’s rigorous testing methods.

Sports pitches can be expected to withstand 40+ hours of play a week. 3G pitches must pass tests on a whole range of factors, including shock absorption and rotation resistance to prevent player injuries. There are 600 data points tested to determine the turf’s performance.

Take a look at the testing methods used.

3G pitch maintenance

3G pitches require a moderate level of care and maintenance in order to last the expected lifespan. There are a number of rules that should be put in place to safeguard the pitch’s quality, including what footwear should be used on the surface. Regular cleaning and attention should take place to ensure the synthetic grass is kept in good condition.

Having a well maintained 3G pitch will not only make it last longer and help prevent injuries. The pitches are designed to replicate every aspect of real grass, including ball/surface interaction. Making sure the synthetic fibres are kept in good condition will help make sure of this.

Sports pitches from McArdle

As specialists in sports pitch construction we ensure that all of our pitches are installed to comply with FIFA’s guidelines. We’ll carefully consider the best possible location on your site to minimise maintenance and prolong the lifespan of your pitch.

Find out more about our construction process.

all weather 3G sports pitch

Hockey Pitch Construction

Where to Begin

This guide has been designed to assist with answering initial questions we are often asked by clients when they first embark on their hockey pitch construction journey. 

-How much does artificial hockey pitch construction cost?
The cost of building a pitch can vary immensely. Do you require a simple resurfacing of an existing pitch with a new sand-dressed artificial turf, or brand new pitch to be constructed with drainage, sports fencing and a new floodlighting system?

Initially, the existing ground conditions will need to be assessed. If the soil is contaminated, this will need to be removed from site and replaced. The more material that needs to be removed and replaced with suitable base material, the more the overall project will cost. A basic sand-dressed pitch resurface with no lighting or fencing can start at around £150,000, and can be in excess of £1 million for a brand new International standard, water-based pitch with new fencing, team dug outs, LED floodlighting and state-of-the-art irrigation systems.

-What are the first steps in artificial hockey pitch construction?
One you have secured land for the build, you will need to speak with an artificial pitch contractor, or a consultant. They should be able to assist with planning considerations and applications, design options, ground surveys, product specifications and pricing. Should you require funding, England Hockey is a good place to start.

-What type of surface does my club need?
Most international tournaments are played on FIH Global standard water-based surfaces and league games are usually played on FIH National standard sand-dressed pitches. If your club doesn’t host international fixtures then a sand-dressed surface will more than likely be sufficient. Water-based and sand-dressed surfaces are becoming available in a range of colours. Types of hockey surface available.

Do I need to have a shock pad under the artificial turf surface?
Although the FIH doesn’t specifically state that a shock pad is required, the testing criteria make it necessary to pass either ‘Global’ or ‘National’ criteria.
The addition of a shock pad in hockey pitch construction will aid player comfort, as the impact on the knees and back is significantly reduced when a shock pad is present. The most commonly used types shock pad systems are; pre-formed roll out pads, and ‘in-situ’ shock pad. An in-situ pad is a combination of SBR rubber and PU Polyurethane binder which is mixed on-site and laid upon the tarmac pitch base.

-How long should an artificial hockey surface last?
Manufacturers will offer a guarantee for each product in their range, to give an example, TigerTurf UK Ltd’s most popular hockey surface Evo Pro is guaranteed for 12 years, or 30,000 playing hours (2017). Many of the UK manufacturers have similar product guarantee periods, either measured in playing hours, or years. It is vitally important that the surface is maintained to the manufacturers standards for the guarantee to remain valid, artificial turf pitches are not maintenance free.

-Can an artificial hockey pitch be used for other sports?
More and more artificial hockey pitches are becoming multi-sport facilities as hockey clubs and local councils look to maximise the number of hours that the surface can be used for, therefore increasing pitch hire revenue. Artificial turf surfaces can be used for multiple sports, many manufacturers have sand-dressed systems which can be used for 5-a-side football, hockey and tennis. Other sports suited to a sand-dressed surface include volleyball, lacrosse, touch rugby and athletics.

Hockey Pitch

Hockey and the Rio Olympics

The Rio Olympics Showcased Just How Great Water-Based Artificial Hockey Pitches Are

Following the success of Team GB Women’s hockey team, where they won gold at Rio, there has been much hype around the sport and types of artificial hockey pitches available. Both Olympic hockey pitches, and the training pitch in Rio were water-based, which created a stir on social media. Many people were questioning why the pitches were blue, and others asked why water was visible on the pitches when it hadn’t rained.

The London 2012 Olympic Games hosted the first world hockey event played on a different coloured surface to the traditional ‘field green;’ they were blue with pink run-offs. The colour doesn’t affect the game, it just makes it more fun! It has been suggested in the media that perhaps the blue and green pitch with white lines and a yellow ball were selected in Rio as they make up the colours of the national flag.

Elite level hockey is preferably played on a wet pitch, a water-based pitch does not have any sand infill. The water reduces friction, enabling the ball to roll faster and straighter than with other types of artificial hockey pitch surfaces. It also affects the players’ sliding, running and turning; stick-work including dribbling, hitting, pushing, dragging, flicking and scooping of the ball.

These factors allowing for a fast-passed, technical game. The layer of water in the surface needs to replenished before a match and during half time breaks, numerous water cannons and a complex irrigation and drainage system are installed within all water based artificial hockey pitches.

Prior to the Rio Olympics, an identical FIH water-based artificial hockey pitch was also constructed at Bisham Abbey (home to England Hockey).  This enabled the British hockey team to practise on the exact same surface as Rio. Perhaps this gave them an advantage, the girls performed outstandingly!

Since their return, the GB Ladies hockey team have attended an athletes’ parade in Manchester, followed by the heroes return in London. Many of the gold medal winning GB ladies’ team have also appeared on TV shows for interviews, and were even invited to Buckingham Palace for an audience with the royal family, which included Her Majesty The Queen and Price Harry.

Our website details the various types of artificial hockey pitches available.

water-based olympic hockey pitches

England Manager, Gareth Southgate opens Burton Albion’s new sports pitch

Pirelli Stadium’s new 3G Pitch opening

Football Foundation Ambassador and England Manager, Gareth Southgate, was invited to open the newly constructed TigerTurf and McArdle Sport Tec football pitch in Burton today. We sent one of our team to the Pirelli Stadium to attend the Football Foundation’s official opening ceremony.

Burton Albion Community Trust applied for a funding grant which was approved and granted by the Premier League & The FA Facilities Fund, and was delivered by the Football Foundation. McArdle Sport Tec, TigerTurf UK and Technical Surfaces were awarded the contract and worked together to design, build, manufacture and maintain a new artificial 3G football pitch for Burton Albion Community Trust. The pitch measures 97m x 61m and the scope of works included refurbishing the existing floodlighting system and installing new fencing and hardstandings. For the installation, TigerTurf manufactured the new artificial surface Atomic Pro 60, which conforms to the latest FIFA testing requirements. The carpet was laid upon a macadam pitch base.

The new pitch will allow BACT to gain extra revenue from hiring the pitches to local teams within the community, extending the hours of play to 50+ per week in comparison to a natural turf pitch, and the pitch can be utilised during the winter months. The income generated will greatly benefit the charity to extend its reach within the local community.

Scott Taylor, Football Development Officer at Burton Albion Community Trust commented: “The new TigerTurf pitch caters for people of all abilities and ages ranging from 5 to 90 years old who can benefit from a safe environment that meets the required standards. We’ve seen a large rise in the number of users, and this is set to increase over the coming months with more demand for pitch hiring during the daytime.

“We have projected an income of over £40,000 in usage between the months of September through to April as these are typically the most popular months for activities. This will provide a welcome boost to the trust’s income and can be used to further improve our ever-growing programme of activity.

“Another benefit of the quality surface provided is that it has allowed the caretaker to maintain the pitch with ease. Furthermore, we’ve benefitted from the adequate support on TigerTurf’s website which has helped maintain and improve the performance of the pitch, highlighting the most important processes.”

The Premier League & The Facilities Fund is delivered by the Premier League, The FA, and the Government, via Sport England. It is delivered by the Football Foundation, the country’s largest sports charity. Since it was launched in 2000, the Football Foundation has awarded around 15,000 grants worth more that £580m towards improving grassroots sports, which it has used to attract additional partnership funding of over £800m – over £1.3bn of investment into the grassroots game.

Football Foundation

McArdle Sport Tec Ltd, Geo Turf Consulting & TigerTurf UK- finalists in the SAPCA Awards 2016

McArdle’s complex design & build project at Aberystwyth Town FC was nominated

The SAPCA Awards 2016 were held on the 6th February 2017 at SAPCA’s annual conference and awards dinner, we were thrilled to have one of our projects nominated for the SAPCA Excellence Award. The complex pitch design and installation project at Aberystwyth Town FC was a joint McArdle Sport Tec, GEO Turf Consulting & TigerTurf UK team undertaking.

NOMINATION: Following the increasing number of artificial pitches installed at Welsh premier league team grounds, Aberystwyth Town FC sought to install a 3G pitch of their own. With investment from the Welsh FA and working closely with Jonathan Smith, a sports surface consultant from GEO Turf Consulting, Aberystwyth Town FC were keen to find a solution that would not only provide the club with a first-class, all-weather pitch but that also carefully considered environmental and sustainability factors as the existing ground was classified as contaminated. The site location and existing ground conditions created particularly difficult challenges for the project, both technically and financially.

As such, it was decided that the Park Avenue Stadium pitch would be constructed with an Ecocept base – an innovative, sports-performance base layer which provides a host of excellent environmental and sustainable benefits to an artificial grass pitch installation compared to traditional construction methods.

The use of Ecocept meant that no off-site removal of contaminated materials was required as we stabilised the site soils to a CBR of approximately 50% for frost protection and stability, and that no imported stone had to be transported onto site – saving not only money and time but also reducing vehicle movements on and off site leading to a lower carbon footprint compared to a traditional pitch installation. This was beneficial as the town centre location can be difficult to navigate and can become easily congested.

With the proximity of the sea to the stadium, a high water table from tidal water had previously caused issues of flooding on the pitch. A waste water management programmed had to be designed to ensure the pitch could be used year-round. A soakaway was constructed, however, due to a tidal water table, which would be a problem on Spring high tides, an affordable pumped solution had to be found. New and innovative technologies in testing conditions were explored to cater for very large flows, with a pump set to discharge a minimum of 42lts/s. A series of drains were introduced to link to the new soakaway. To ensure the worst possible storm event conditions were considered, the pump station was designed to discharge to the sea in the most extreme conditions.

The decision to make use of new technologies in the construction of the new 3G pitch allowed the club to complete the project on a limited budget, increase playing hours available at the club to open the club up to the wider community, including disability sports clubs, youth and academy teams, and to create additional revenue streams. Now that fixtures will not need to be cancelled, the club has also seen an increased attendance at First Team fixtures, again bringing in additional income to the club.

After much hard work and problem solving, we managed to successfully install almost 8,000sqm of British-made artificial turf upon an innovative and bespoke base and drainage solution which had to work within a busy coastal town centre location.

McArdle Sport Tec are in the starting blocks at the University of Birmingham

8-Lane Athletics Track Installation

After submitting a detailed design and tender for the installation of a new athletics track at University of Birmingham, McArdle Sport Tec Ltd were thrilled to have been awarded the project contract. The large scale project for the University of Birmingham at Edgbaston Park Road is sure to attract many users from the university and King Edward’s School which is situated opposite the University site. The new facility includes an 8-lane athletics track with a natural turf infield and a state-of-the-art LED floodlighting system, as well as field areas for steeple chase, high jump, long jump, javelin, hammer and discus.

After an initial site clearance, the major works are expected to start imminently with the IAAF accredited track surface and associated facilities to be completed in the summer. The extensive project involves the removal and re-use of a vast expanse of top soil,  design and installation of complex drainage systems, the installation of a stone sub-base and a macadam base, installation of the polymeric running surface, line marking in accordance with UK athletics, timber crib wall construction, planting and much more.

The synthetic track surfacing will be a ‘sandwich’ system, formed of a base layer of resin bound black SBR rubber crumb and a top layer of solid red polyurethane resin with partially embedded red EPDM rubber crumb forming the surface texture. Paved areas are to be erected for judges stands on the inside and outside of the track circuit, at the finish line on the main straight.

Athletics track installation specialists McArdle Sport Tec have previously installed athletics tracks and facilities throughout the UK including, but not limited to, The Manchester Commonwealth Games stadium track, The Aberdeen Sports Village, Stowe School, King George V Playing Fields in Swansea, Tavistock College, and are currently mid-way though the construction of a new track  at the National Indoor Athletics Centre located at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

athletics track installation

How your team can embark on the artificial 3G rugby pitch construction journey

The 3G artificial pitch construction process-

With the recent statement from the RFU suggesting they are looking to fund the construction of artificial 3G rugby pitches as part of their “AGP Programme”, and having installed one of the pilot pitches ourselves, we are increasingly being asked how the 3G artificial pitch construction process begins, and how clubs can apply to be part of the scheme.

When considering an artificial pitch, all aspects of the installation must be carefully considered. Not only do we need to provide you with the best quality turf and completed pitch, we need to ensure this is delivered on-time, within the club’s budget and to the highest customer service standard. In order to ensure we are able to offer the premium pitches we are renowned for, we will need to meet the main stakeholders so we can determine exactly what is required. There is no standard specification, all sites offer alternative challenges and conditions, drainage plans, logistics, specifications and budgets all differ.

A feasibility study begins with a free site visit to assess the potential site. Planning conditions are carefully considered and project designs are tailored to ensure individual conditions are adhered to. An extensive range of pitch options and specifications are discussed and a range of design options are presented to the club.

How can artificial 3G rugby pitch construction benefit your club?-

Artificial 3G rugby pitch construction provides clubs the opportunity to boost participation in the game. The main advantages include providing the opportunity for more playing hours, more training hours and a consistent surface which can be utilised throughout the year. As part of the RFU’s Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy promise of delivering over £50m investment over four years, they have pledged to develop 100 artificial grass pitches across England. Once all AGPs are built it is anticipated that grassroots rugby will see 16,000 new regular participants taking up the sport as a result of greater access to quality playing facilities across the country.

How can your club get on the list for potential funding for an artificial 3G rugby pitch?-

As far as we know there is no official application process for the RFU’s AGP strategy, should your club be looking to get on the RFU’s potential list you would need to speak with the RFU facilities manager in your area. A list of contacts and their details can be found here.

Artificial Rugby Pitch

3G Football Pitch – Which Boots?

To keep a 3G pitch looking its best, the correct footwear is vital.

In order to prolong the life of a 3G pitch it’s vital that players wear suitable footwear. All 3G pitches should have DOs and Don’ts boards detailing the acceptable footwear. As a general guide, see the illustration taken from the FA Guide to 3G Design & Layouts.

3G Suitable Pitch boots

Get Active in January

3G football pitch construction lets you train and play all year round

As Christmas becomes a distant memory, much of the nation will set and break their new year’s resolutions before January is over. Playing on a 3G football pitch can help you stick at being more active, enabling you to play and train all year.

As well as providing a pitch which can withstand more endurance, throughout the year, artificial pitches can generate an income for your club. FIFA have created new standards of testing to ensure 3G football pitch construction meets FIFA standards of play and quality assurance. McArdle Sport Tec install surfaces which meet FIFA ‘s Quality Programme for Football Turf.

Benefits from 3G football pitch construction for your club:

Third-generation pitches can be played on during the winter months – Meaning you won’t have to try to catch up on postponed matches. Some 3G surface systems are guaranteed for up to twenty-thousand playing hours. 3G pitches can withstand a much more intense schedule than natural turf pitches, they are ideal for hosting tournaments.

Income generation – 3G football pitch construction can not only improve your club’s facilities, but also generate money from hiring out the pitches to other local teams and schools. A 3G pitch can be split and hired in sections for training, full matches and even parties.

Superior durability – 3G pitches can be played on for many more hours each week without causing damage to the pitch area. 3G pitches can be played on throughout the day and evening and do not need time to rest and recover, unlike natural turf pitches.

Heavy maintenance to repair a damaged pitch surface is not required – A 3G pitch will require regular maintenance such as brushing, however won’t need mowing, fertilising, patching and regular line marking.

Controlled playing characteristics – FIFA standard 3G surfaces have been specially designed to mimic the characteristics of a natural turf pitch. 3G pitches hold the ball well giving players control over ball roll with complete freedom of movement.

Funding for 3G football pitch construction can be obtained from the Football Foundation & Sport England, should your club meet their requirements.

Beating the winter with an artificial hockey pitch

With only a few weeks until Christmas and temperatures dropping below freezing this week, winter is finally here. How does the change in the seasons affect your hockey clubs’ match fixtures?

The most common complaints we hear about natural turf pitches are weather related. Be it waterlogged pitches or frozen surfaces, the winter weather can affect pitch playing conditions and can lead to cancelled fixtures. When natural turf pitches can’t drain effectively it’s highly likely that the surface will become boggy. Muddy, boggy pitches can be off-putting for players and when played on, the surface can be damaged immensely which will take a lot of work to rectify when the weather improves.

Uneven ground on a sports pitch can be a big problem across all sports. Hockey pitches need to be relatively flat for the ball to roll effectively, and to prevent injury. A frozen surface will provide almost no cushioning for player’s joints.

Natural grass pitches generally cannot sustain the high levels of use that artificial turf hockey pitches can and need to be ‘rested’ from use regardless of the weather. Some artificial turf surface systems for hockey have a guaranteed playing time of 30,000 playing hours.

If you have experienced postponed matches due to poor weather maiming your natural turf pitch almost useless, perhaps it’s time to consider an all-weather pitch. Artificial hockey pitches can prove beneficial all year round, not only during the winter months. During the warmer seasons, sand-dressed pitches do not require watering and will require less preparation and maintenance than a natural turf pitch.

Our top tips for maintaining artificial hockey pitches

In order to keep your artificial hockey pitch looking and performing its best it is vital to maintain it. A well-maintained pitch will optimise playing conditions, reduce chance of injury and ensure the pitch drains effectively.

When you appoint a hockey pitch construction contractor they should consider ease of maintenance into the design. Ways to keep the pitch tidy can include the installation of tarmac paths leading to the pitch, landscaping with non-shedding trees and even installing artificial turf warm up areas so the pitch doesn’t get contaminated with mud. Our top tips for maintaining artificial hockey pitches include:

1. Preventative Maintenance –
Regularly clear debris from the pitch area such as litter, leaves, twigs and mud. Empty the bins to ensure they don’t overflow onto the pitch area. Remove any weeds which are encroaching from around the edge of the pitch.

2. Appropriate Footwear –
Ensure all users of the pitch know what footwear is appropriate for the surface.

Most shoe manufacturers produce a boot which is specifically designed for the sport played on a synthetic turf pitch, ensure you communicate which type of footwear is suitable for your artificial playing surface.

3. Moss and Algae Removal –
In some seasons moss can become established on the surface, water-based pitches might be more prone to this. Keep an eye out for any build-up of moss or algae around the edge of the artificial hockey pitch.

4. Routine Care-
Brushing the turf regularly in different directions will ensure the fibres stay upright. Use a drag brush behind a tractor for the best results and pay particular attention to heavy traffic areas, such as the pitch entrance and goal areas.

5. Rejuvenation –
From time-to-time it’s best to call in the experts to give the artificial hockey pitch a deep clean. They will closely inspect the surface to ensure there is no tearing and that all seams remain securely fastened. They will check the in-fill levels and can top up the sand if required.

Athletics Track Construction – Types of Track

Porous vs Sandwich Systems

We are proud to be specialists when it comes to athletics track construction. We have installed many tracks, from the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games track to numerous tracks in schools and colleges which range in size, track system, colour and budget. The most commonly installed types of athletics track systems installed in the UK are porous and sandwich. A question we are frequently asked is, “What is the difference?”

Porous tracks are designed to allow water to filter through the track, essentially, they consist of a rubber binder base mat and a top layer.
The base layer consists of SBR (styrene-butadiene rubber) granules which are mixed with a binder and laid in-situ. The top layer consists of smaller EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber granules, which are mixed on-site with a PU resin binder. This is sprayed on top of the base mat layer.

Porous systems are:
• Designed to allow water to drain through the track, therefore no additional track drainage system is required.

• Tend to be the most cost effective track system to install; an ideal choice for athletics clubs, universities, colleges and schools.
• Can be made in a variety of colours; a sealing layer may be required to stop colour fade.

Sandwich track systems are essentially designed to stop the water draining through. Like a porous system, sandwich tracks have a rubber base mat layer at the bottom and top layer. In-between these is the “sandwich layer” made from a polyurethane compound which is non-porous, it creates a barrier to stop water from seeping from the top layer to the base layer.

Sandwich systems:
• Offer improved shock-absorption performance to the porous system.
• Offer a greater lifespan than porous systems as the EPDM cast be retextured numerous times.
• Can also be made in a variety of colours.
• Are more suited for national and regional athletic competitions.

Cardiff Met Uni Continue to Work with Sports Surface Specialists McArdle Sport Tec

After the successful installation of a FIFA accredited pitch at Cardiff Metropolitan University’s Cyncoed Campus in 2014, McArdle Sport Tec have been chosen to work with Cardiff Met Uni once again.

The latest project at the Cyncoed Campus involves the construction of a 400 metre, six-lane athletics track with a 3G rugby pitch in the middle and an athletics development facility. The team began on site in October and will be working through to June 2017.

The polymeric track will be built to meet IAAF standards and the athletics development facility will include designated areas for javelin, shot put, discus, pole vault and long jump.

To meet the specification required for FIFA and World Rugby Pitches, McArdle’s will be installing TigerTurf’s innovative “Rugby 360” surface system upon an in-site shockpad. This brand-new artificial turf product is a quality rugby-specific surface, perfect for rugby union and rugby league itches. The third-generation surface is made using durable XWR yarn and will meet the newly revised requirements of World Rugby Regulation 22 and FIFA performance standards.

Rugby Expo 2016

3rd & 4th November, Ricoh Arena

McArdle Sport Tec Ltd will be exhibiting at the Rugby Expo 2016 on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th November at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry. Sports surface specialists will be available to provide the very best advice to aid sports construction and planning for both elite and community level rugby installations.

The exhibition opens its doors at 9am each day and will host a range of speakers from major rugby clubs, community clubs and the RFU.

“Day One- The first day of Rugby Expo is designed for those involved in the professional game of both rugby union and league. The event provides a unique chance to meet, network and attend a series of key note presentations and panel discussions form leading speakers, including CEO’s from Saracens, Wasps, Newport, Glasgow, St Helens, Premiership Rugby, as well as leading figures from World Rugby, and Sky Sports.

Day Two – The second day of Rugby Expo is designed for volunteers from community clubs to attend the event free of charge. Delegates can attend seminars, workshops and interactive panel discussions designed to be support the issues affecting community clubs.  This year’s content focuses on the changes in age grade rugby, strategies to support clubs retain younger players, how to integrate players from school to club rugby, the growth in women’s and girls rugby, the introduction of the RFU’s new funded artificial grass pitches programme and player welfare.”

McArdle Sport Tec will be available each day from 9am to assist with technical, budget and funding enquiries.

Visit McArdle Sport Tec at stand D1 to enter the prize draw for a chance to win 2 tickets to RBS 6 Nations – England V Scotland game at Twickenham on 11th March 2017  

McArdle Sport Tec & TigerTurf selected for RFU’s Artificial 3G Rugby Pitch Construction Pilot Scheme

McArdle Sport Tec and TigerTurf are pleased to have been selected as the contractor/manufacturer team appointed for the artificial 3G rugby pitch construction at major rugby club Hornets RFC, Weston-Super-Mare.  Working with TigerTurf, McArdle’s will be installing their new “Rugby 360” third-generation artificial turf at the club’s Hutton Moor Road site. The Hornets have been selected as one of the clubs to be included in the pilot scheme which aims to continue the RFU’s Rugby World Cup 2015 legacy of delivering over £50m investment over four years into the development of one hundred artificial 3G rugby pitches across England; sixty on rugby club sites and forty on community sites.

The scheme has been devised by the RFU to offer superior all-weather playing facilities across the country, with the RFU pledging to invest in 100 floodlit artificial 3G rugby pitches for the grassroots game across the country over a four-year period.  The major driver for installing artificial pitches is to sustain and grow participation in the game whilst overcoming increasing pressure on natural turf pitches, the impact of wetter winters resulting in postponed matches, changing player expectations and competition from other sports investing in artificial pitches.

Steve Grainger, RFU Rugby Development Director said: “With changing expectations and aspirations it is clear that rugby, like other sports, needs to provide playing surfaces that meet modern requirements.” He added, “Following the Rugby World Cup 2015 there has been an upsurge in interest in rugby, not least from aspiring coaches, referees and young players, and this is an exciting opportunity to further develop our community rugby facilities.” The new scheme is thought to be the biggest single investment in the grass-roots game by the governing body; it follows the decision by the Football Association to invest £260 million to build 600 all-weather 3G pitches and create 150 football hubs over the next four years.

RFU area facilities manager Jon Bendle said: “This really is an exciting opportunity for the entire rugby community in North Somerset. We hope that a number of the surrounding clubs, schools and college will want to utilise this great facility.” He continued, “The new facilities will improve the quality of the rugby experience at Hornets and provide more playing opportunities, especially for people in the 14-24 age group.”

McArdle’s commenced the artificial 3G rugby pitch construction at Hornets RFC last week and the project is anticipated to be completed before the end of the year.

Hornets Rugby Football Club

MUGA Construction –

As well as all-weather pitches, McArdle Sport Tec are also specialists in MUGA construction. MUGA stands for Multi Use Games Area. Put simply, a MUGA pitch or court is a sports surface which can accommodate various sports. They can be made from a variety of surfaces including tarmac, rubber and artificial turf.

MUGA construction involves building one pitch or court which can be utilised for various sports incorporating different line markings. You will have seen tarmac MUGAS marked out for netball, basketball and possibly tennis. The different sports can all be played upon the one surface, differentiated by the different colour line markings.

MUGA Materials- Different types of surface are better suited for different sports, generally MUGA construction consists of the following types of surface:

Type 1 and 2 Macadam – This is a tarmac surface which can be sprayed different colours if required, tarmac is generally the most affordable surface and can accommodate a variety of sports including, tennis, netball, basketball and can be used for skills training for ball games such as football. Tarmac MUGA’s can also be used as generic playgrounds at break times, so are very popular with primary schools.

Type 3 and 4 Polymeric – A synthetic rubber surface created binding small rubber granules with polyurethane which can be sprayed to various colours. Polymeric surfaces are commonly used in athletics track construction as well as MUGA construction, they provide a less slippery surface in comparison to macadam. Type 3 and Type 4 Polymeric surfaces follow Sport England guidelines and are recommended for ball rebound sports as netball, five-a-side football, tennis, mini-tennis, basketball and training areas for non-ball sports such as athletics. They are also suitable for wheelchair sports. Netball is the priority sport for type 3 and five-a-side football and athletics training as the priority use for type 4.

Type 5 – This is an artificial turf surface which can be either 3G or sand-based. A 3G surface is a long pile artificial turf which is infilled with sand and rubber to make the pile stand up, idea for large ball sports such as football and rugby. A sand-based surface has a much lower pile and is partially filled with sand, ideal for hockey, lacrosse and 5-a-side -football.

Why MUGAS are so popular-

MUGAs offer an affordable way for schools and clubs with limited space to provide multiple sports courts and pitches. They can satisfy a wide range of sporting demands and also provide a cost-effective solution. Many schools and sports clubs are restricted by money and space, so MUGAs offer a great solution as they can be designed to meet individual requirements such as size, colour and sports to be played.

Multi Use Games Area

Filbert Fox Opens Our Latest All-Weather Pitch in Leicester

Filbert Fox joins Dion Dublin & Matt Elliott at the official opening of our latest all-weather pitch

McArdle Sport Tec are honoured to have had one of our latest all-weather football pitches at Wreake Valley Academy opened by some very special guests. Dion Dublin, a Football Foundation ambassador and former Leicester City player, was joined by ex-Leicester City skipper and teammate Matt Elliott as well as the clubs’ mascot Filbert Fox.

Dublin and Elliott cut the ribbon at the new floodlit pitch which received top reviews and Filbert Fox showed off his football skills on the pitch and posed for selfies with the crowd. Dion Dublin was clearly impressed with the new facilities and during an interview on-site he stated, “This new 3G surface is incredible when you compare it to the sort of run-down pitches that were being used here until recently,” “It will also become a home for local grassroots clubs and footballers from the wider community.”

The new facility can be played on throughout the year which was one of the main benefits to the local community. “The pitch will provide local grassroots footballers of all ages and abilities with a place to come and enjoy playing football,” said Matt Elliott. “The pitch that was here previously couldn’t keep pace with demand but that won’t be a problem with the new surface, which is also floodlit meaning play can continue even when the nights draw in early.”

Thanks to the new all-weather pitch, Wreake Valley Academy’s football development plan envisages a rise in the number of affiliated teams from 14 to 69 and an increase in participation at the site of 245% over the next five years. The new pitch be available for use by the Academy’s pupils and the wider community, Leicester City Community Trust, Leicester City Ladies and local teams inducing Syston Town Junior FC and Riverside FC clubs. The new pitch will also be utilized during the school holidays where Leicester City FC will hold school holiday courses. “The pitch will provide local grassroots footballers of all ages and abilities with a place to come and enjoy playing football,” said Matt Elliott.

The construction process took eleven weeks and was captured on our time-lapse camera. To see the all-weather pitch installation from start to finish click here.

The brand new all-weather pitch was made possible thanks to a grant from the Premier League and the FA Facilities Fund, which is delivered by the Football Foundation.

All-weather pitch

The FA’s Pilot Hubs in Sheffield

The 3G football pitch construction of 2 brand new pitches at Thorncliffe Recreation Ground

In 2014, The Football Association unveiled its plan to build more than 150 new “football hubs” at over 30 major UK city locations. In order to achieve this, the FA pledged to invest more than £230 million into 3G football pitch construction by creating new “football hubs”.

Sheffield was selected as the first city to benefit from the “football hubs” and with backing from Sheffield City Council, the new project was to become known as “Parklife”. The Parklife project would see more than £6.8 million invested in football in Sheffield over a few sites across the city.

Planning permission was granted for the first two sites in 2015, Greg Dyke, Chairman for the FA said, “This is excellent news for grassroots football in Sheffield and a significant step towards making our vision of creating publicly accessible football hubs across all major cities by 2020 a reality.” “Introducing city hubs is a key recommendation of the Chairman’s Commission as a means of protecting football facilities from a potential downward spiral of declining quality brought about by inevitable reductions in local authority funding as fiscal budgets are squeezed.”

Paul Billington, Director of Culture, Sport and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, also added “I’m really pleased that planning permission has been granted for the first of these new football facilities, which will significantly improve the quality of the grassroots football provision here in Sheffield,” he said. “As well as being a boost for those who already play football, this new partnership with The FA is expected to increase participation and, in the longer term, provide a financial saving to the council as more play is concentrated on fewer pitches.”

McArdle Sport Tec won a competitive tender for the 3G football pitch construction of the new pitches at the second site of the Sheffield’s Parklife Scheme, Thorncliffe Recreation Ground. The new football hub was to be built alongside the new £7 million North Active Leisure Centre and the project included the installation of two new, full size 3G pitches for football, each with specialist fencing and floodlighting, and two fully drained 11v11 natural grass pitches. It also included a changing room, coach education facility and social space.

The proposed third site in Sheffield is set to boast two full-sized 3G pitches and natural turf pitches, a fitness centre, changing rooms and an education facility. Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said, “This partnership with the FA is a great thing for our city. I’m delighted to see this grassroots scheme moving forward with the announcement of the third football hub site, which will also create a fantastic new public health facility in the south east of Sheffield.” She added, “Football is Sheffield’s biggest team sport with over 800 teams, the majority of which are junior and youth teams. It is significant for sports participation, community activity and associated health benefits.”

Kelly Simmons, The FA’s director of participation and development, said: “The vision of building football hubs in up to 30 key cities and towns has begun and we applaud Sheffield for leading the way.”

McArdle Sport Tec believe that more 3G football pitch construction, and the creation of football hubs across the UK should have a positive impact on grassroots football as all-weather pitches provide much longer playing times and are not weather dependant.

Bala Town Football Club Invest in New 3G Pitch

Maes Tegid is ready for new 3G football pitch construction

On Monday 4th July 2016, McArdle Sport Tec commenced the construction of Welsh Premier League team, Bala Town FC’s new 3G football pitch. The 3G football pitch construction project involves removing the existing grass surface and replacing it with a brand new, state-of-the-art 3G surface. For this project McArdle’s will be installing TigerTurf’s Soccer Real 50mm carpet, a popular third-generation, all-weather surface which McArdle Sport Tec have previously installed at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Jenner Park Stadium for Welsh League Team Barry Town United FC, at Wolverhampton Wonderers FC training ground and Airbus UK Broughton FC.

The 3G football pitch construction process will take approximately 12 weeks and includes clearing the site and removing the natural turf surface, removing topsoil, installing a drainage system, laying the new synthetic surface, installing specialist sports fencing, team dug outs and testing the pitch to ensure it meets FIFA standards.

The project has been part-funded by Gwynedd Council, the Football Association of Wales and UEFA’s Hat Trick programme and has been co-ordinated by specialist sports pitch consultant Jonathan Smith of GEO Turf Consulting whom McArdle’s have worked closely with on previous projects.

The new 3G football pitch construction has created much excitement for the club, Chief Executive of Bala Town FC, Nigel Aykroyd said: “This is the culmination of over 2 years of hard work and dedication to arrive at this project commencement stage. It is a huge investment for the future of the younger generation of sporting participation in Bala and its surrounding areas. Bala Town must thank considerably the help we have received from all its partners in this project which has enabled this development to transform from a distant dream to actual reality.”

Ruth Crump, Club Secretary, “We have played on many artificial pitches over the last few seasons and are very impressed with the pitch conditions which can only improve playing standards for our team. The new pitch will be used primarily by our First team and our Academy teams ranging from seven years old up to nineteen years old. However, we are in the process of setting up a ladies’ team who will also have access to the facility along with our veterans. Bala Town will be employing a Community Officer who will set up a new league and also tournaments for both children and adults. The pitch will also be available for community use by local schools and colleges.”

McArdle Sport Tec Installing ‘Ecocept’ at Aberystwyth Town FC

After a competitive tender and interview process, 3G football pitch construction specialists, McArdle Sport Tec are delighted to have been awarded a contract by Welsh Premier League side Aberystwyth Town FC to install a state-of-the-art third-generation pitch at the club’s ground. McArdle Sport Tec offered the club a new and innovative sports surface base system by TigerTurf called TenCate Ecocept.

Ecocept is a one-of-a-kind base system which has been specifically developed for synthetic turf playing surfaces. The base is manufactured onsite using 80-90% recycled end-of-life waste plastics and rubber mixed with a binder to hold it together. The new base system meets both FIFA and World Rugby impact requirements so can be used for football and rugby surfaces. Using Ecocept reduces the need for a conventional thick layer of crushed stone, and the performance base drains rainwater laterally so that traditional drainage methods are not necessary.

The 3G football pitch construction project at Park Avenue Stadium will include removing the existing pitch surface and installing the specialist base system, installing kerbing the synthetic turf and specialist sports fencing. To see more about our 3G football pitch construction see our ‘how we do it page’. The work is due to be completed in time for Aberystwyth Town’s match against Bala Town on 11th October 2016. McArdle’s are also on-site at Bala Town FC constructing a 3G pitch at their home home ground Meas Tegid.

McArdle Sport Tec have previously installed an Ecocept pitch at Cheshunt FC at the end of 2015, the installation of Ecocept at the club in Hertfordshire has since gained recognition for TigerTurf for embracing new technology and leading the way for product design, having been named as a finalist in the SAPCA Awards 2016.  To read more about this innovative base-system, click here.


The Mayor of Woodley Visited One of Our Sites

We were very lucky to have been visited by the Mayor of Woodley, Councillor Dave Mills.

Woodley Town Council were awarded a grant to help their dream of installing a 3G pitch at Woodford Park Leisure Centre a reality. The £510,000 grant received from the Premier League and Football Association Facilities Fund covers 50% of the new pitch construction project. McArdle Sport Tec Ltd and TigerTurf (UK) Ltd were awarded the project after submitting a competitive tender for the work.

The project started in March 2016 and includes:

Installation of a 3G Artificial Grass Pitch which can be divided in to three smaller 5 a-side pitches for training. The pitch will have a secure enclosure complete with acoustic board fencing and floodlighting.

Resurfacing of 1 existing tennis court providing a brand new playing surface for Tennis and Netball. The remaining tennis courts, which are in poor condition, will be removed and the space used to create an additional 55 parking spaces for visitors to the Centre.

Resurfacing of the existing Leisure Centre car park.

The site was visited by the Mayor of Woodley, Councillor Dave Mills, once the site works had commenced.

Changes to FIFA’s Pitch Certification

At the end of 2015, the FIFA Quality Programme released a new Test Manual containing more stringent requirements for football turf installations. With the release of the new manual a set of new Quality Marks were introduced – FIFA QUALITY and FIFA QUALITY PRO, which will replace the FIFA Recommended 1 Star and 2 Star marks.


Because all artificial surfaces and systems are different, FIFA developed a testing scheme to ensure there was a benchmark for artificial playing surfaces. An artificial pitch can only be called ‘football turf’ once it has been tested to FIFA’s stringent criteria in the laboratory and on the field. If an artificial turf playing surface fulfils FIFA’s quality requirements necessary for football in terms of Playing Performance, Safety, Durability and Quality Assurance, it will be awarded a FIFA quality mark.

The FIFA QUALITY mark, formerly FIFA RECOMMENDED 1 Star, is awarded to pitches that meet the standard for community and amateur fields with typically 40-60 playing hours per week.

The FIFA QUALITY PRO mark, formerly FIFA RECOMMENDED 2 Star, is awarded to fields that ensure the highest playing performance for professional-level football for typical usage of up to 20 playing hours per week.

3G, 4G or 5G…?

A question we get asked a lot here at McArdle Sport Tec is “What is 3G?”.

To explain simply, 3G is short for Third Generation. Third Generation (3G) surfaces are the newest generation of artificial turf and are referred to as one of the major recent innovations in football. They are designed to offer similar playing characteristics to playing on natural turf, mimicking the ball bounce and ball roll.

A 3G surface is created using a blend of grass-like fibres attached to a special backing. Unlike older style synthetic pitches which were filled with sand, 3G pitches are filled with sand as well as rubber granules. The rubber helps to keep the turf pile upright and makes the surface less abrasive when in contact with skin, resulting in fewer friction burns.

To become a 3G Football Turf Pitch, the surface must meet FIFA’s stringent guidelines and will be accredited with a FIFA QUALITY or FIFA QUALITY PRO mark.

“So what is a 4G or 5G surface?”

According to The FA’s Third Generation Football Turf Guidance, “At the moment there is no such thing as 4G or 5G.” They are terms sometimes used by sales-people. “Some manufacturers may promote non-infilled products, but these have not received acceptance as a suitable football surface and often struggle to satisfy FIFA requirements.”

For further information, or to discuss a possible 3G pitch project, call our sales team on 01491 827810 Ext 1.

3G surface


With the recent flooding in the North of England causing devastation to family homes and businesses, Sports England have launched an Emergency Flood Relief Fund for local sport clubs and societies who have been affected by the extreme weather conditions.

The main aim of this particular fund is to safeguard community sports facilities by providing quick cleaning services to get business running as usual as soon as possible. In order to do this, Sports England are willing to invest up to £400,000.