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27 Oct: The Future of the Sports Surfaces Sector

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Presentations and discussion with the panellists

Oct 27, 2023 from 10:30 – 12:30

28th IAKS Congress in Cologne, Germany


Discussing the positive aspects of synthetic sports surfaces is the way for the future. Embracing the negative energy from a small number of interest groups can be changed into positive solutions that can make a difference to the next generation of users, in a safe and environmentally positive manner.

The panel will explore this new industry initiative between IAKS, ESTC (EMEA), STC (America’s) and NSC (Asia Pacific), where the four organisations aim to develop a common approach to Changing the Narrative so that the industry can continue good practice globally to counter some of the challenges.


Martin Sheppard is the Chair of IAKS Expert Circle on Sports Surfaces and currently the Technical Consultant for Football Australia, the NRL, Rugby Australia and Hockey Australia. He invites us to „Change the narrative“ while he will give an outlook on the evolution of the sports facility market, global, national and regional.

Alastair Cox, Facilities and Quality Programme Manager at the International Hockey Federation (FIH), will share his thoughts on „The environmental challenges facing the sector“.

The industry is committed to the circular economy, e.g. alternative infill products, recycling of worn pitches, and transfer to single polymer products. Director General/CEO, ESTC – EMEA Synthetic Turf Council Stefan Diderich will provide an overview of current practices and innovation for the future.

Björn Aas, Senior Engineer at COWI, will present the KG2021 project on future synthetic sufaces from Norway.

The session will be moderated by Claus Weberstorfer.

Sheppard Cox Diderich Aas Weberstorfer

Martin Sheppard, Alastair Cox, Claus Weberstorfer, Björn Aas, Stefan Diderich (clockwise, starting top left)