Does Artificial Turf Matter? Estimating the Impact of Artificial Turf on Goal Production and Game Outcomes in Swedish elite football for men

Ulf Rämme
WSP Sverige AB

Artificial turf is one of the most important innovations in the history of football. Since it was first introduced in Sweden in 2004 there has been an intense debate among players, coaches, analysts and supporters about its impact on the way football is played. Artificial turf might change the game but it also challenges old perceptions and forces team strategies, game tactics, player skills and equipment to develop.

A growing body of research comparing artificial turf and natural grass concludes that there are small, often insignificant, differences between the two surfaces. The purpose of this article is to study how introduction of artificial turf affects goal production and game outcomes with examples from Swedish elite football for men.

Results show that the introduction of artificial turf has had no practical impact on goal production and game outcomes. However, artificial turf has had negative effects on early adopters while late adopters experienced the opposite effect. A possible explanation for this is that early on, the quality of artificial turf was rather crude and not comparable to natural grass while, with technological progress, possible differences between natural grass and artificial turf were levelled.

Download a full-text version of the article here!

ULF RÄMME currently works at WSP Sverige with commercial planning specialized in retail development and planning. He has a background at HUI Research as a consultant and project manager and at Stockholm University as  phd student.


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