GreenFields’ first dual use pitch in India secures National Academy status

A GreenFields dual use football and hockey pitch, installed at the Father Agnel School in Mumbai, India, has been chosen by a joint team from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and FIFA as the solid base for one of the first national football academies in India. The Fr. Agnel Multipurpose School in the Vashi suburb of Mumbai opened in 1982. It has worked hard to ensure that the students have access to good sports facilities as an integral part of their education. The school’s investment in a GreenFields synthetic turf pitch has now been recognised by the AIFF and FIFA who have chosen the school as one of four new residential football academies in India.

Two pitches for the price of one

In 2010 the school decided that it wanted to install a synthetic turf hockey pitch which would allow the school to play this sport all year round. When the school talked to potential suppliers, it became clear that GreenFields was the most innovative provider. GreenFields advised that rather than install just a hockey pitch, the school could have a dual use hockey and football pitch, giving much greater flexibility and pitch utilisation. GreenFields has pioneered this technology to create a pitch for both hockey and football without any compromises to both playing experiences.

Fully utilised – all year, all weathers

With monsoon rainfall for 4 months a year, and summer temperatures known to exceed 42 ⁰C, a synthetic turf pitch seemed the obvious solution. With an excellent drainage system to cope with the monsoon rains and a sprinkler system to manage temperatures in the peak summer months, this has ensured the pitch can be fully utilised all year round.

Global innovation – local support

Bringing together GreenFields’ innovative technology and the support of local sports infrastructure company, Acosa Sports, helped to generate an in-depth understanding of exactly what the school as the first national football academy required. GreenFields assisted the school through each process of planning, time scheduling, hiring costs, and commercial lease of ground, providing a complete turnkey solution for the school. GreenFields even helped the school to secure a number of pitch rental contracts which generate enough additional income to cover all the pitch maintenance costs.

Maintenance – a key decision factor

Rob Baan, the former technical director at the Dutch professional football club Feyenoord in Rotterdam and the new Technical Director of AIFF, was particularly impressed by the way in which the football turf was being maintained.This was one of the factors contributing to its choice as one of the four national academies. He was also impressed by the assistance that GreenFields had given the school to engage in development programs for football.

Hugo de Vries, Director of Sales and R&D of GreenFields comments: “We are incredibly proud that our dual use pitch at Vashi has now been recognised by both AIFF and FIFA as a site suitable for one of only four national football academies in India. Without our suggestion to install the first dual use pitch in India instead of a single use hockey pitch, the school would have missed the opportunity altogether”.