What is the link between standards and the FIFA World Cup ?

What is the link between standards and the FIFA World Cup ?

From 12 June to 13 July, the 20th FIFA World Cup takes place in Brazil. We cross our fingers that our Belgian Red Devils will put up an excellent performance and reach the latter stages of the tournament!

This may come as a surprise to many, but standards also play a role on and around the football pitch. This is especially true for Belgium, where the Royal Decree of 6 July 2013 on safety standards to be observed in football stadiums makes direct reference to a number of Belgian and European standards.

We can take the example of standards series NBN EN 13200 Spectator facilities. Part 4 describes the characteristics of seats in stadiums and other spectator facilities. It contains requirements for safety, functionality and spectator comfort.

Certain standards also apply to the football pitch, e.g. NBN EN 12233, which describes a test method for determining the sward height of natural turf. In our football clubs, players of all ages and levels regularly train on synthetic turf surfaces in conformity with NBN EN 15330-1.

Since it was first published in 1996, standard NBN EN 748 on football goals, has helped to reduce accidents caused by the lack of stability or robustness of certain football goals. This standard also establishes the mesh size of the goal nets.

Another example is the NBN EN 12235 which determines the vertical ball behavior of different types of ball, including soccer balls, on sports fields.

In terms of equipment for football players, we can refer to standards NBN EN 16027 dealing with gloves for association football goal keepers and NBN EN 13061 concerning shin guards for association football players.

Finally, a number of sustainable and innovative solutions, in conformity with international standards, were applied in the construction of different football stadiums for the Brazil World Cup. For instance, the roof of the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro converts solar radiation into electricity. And for the construction of the new Salvador stadium, concrete from the previous stadium was recycled and reused.

Standards are ubiquitous in our every lives but also in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.