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22 May, 2019 - 14:13 By Kate Sweeney

FC Barcelona pitches into East of England technology

Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper

Spanish soccer champions FC Barcelona have taken their training pitch refurbishment to a new level by installing artificial surfaces using East of England technology. They are using the hybrid artificial pitch infill PRO-gran from Murfitts Industries in Suffolk at their training ground Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper. 

As a major European destination for future footballers, FC Barcelona employed specialists to research alternative artificial pitch infills on the market. The club’s medical team was part of the testing party to ensure the infill met the requirements for player safety. Due to polymeric infill PRO-gran being industry-leading REACH compliant as a consumer product, Barcelona was happy to be onside.

Produced by Murfitts Industries in Lakenheath, PRO-gran releases no PAHs or heavy metals and is one of the highest performing infills on the market. 

Managing director Mark Murfitt said: “FC Barcelona are well-renowned for producing high-quality football so it’s only fitting that they build a high-performance pitch which takes into consideration the safety of the players.

“Since its introduction to the world of football in 2017, PRO-gran has continued to dominate international fields and is now being played on pitches across four continents.”

Murfitts is an environmentally sustainable company manufacturing rubber granulate or rubber crumb from post consumer tyres. It achieves 100 per cent recycling of rubber, steel and fibre. Its granules are used in sports surfaces, pathways, practice pitches, children’s play areas, carpet underlay, modified asphalt and many other industrial applications.

Murfitts Industries is the largest recycler of worn tyres in the UK and it collects and recycles approximately 12 million tyres each year at its dedicated facilities.

Due to its custom-built recycling plant, Murfitts recycles 100 per cent of every tyre it collects, with the components, steel, fibre and rubber, being reused for new products and tyre-derived fuel.

To improve the quality and performance of rubber crumb infill, Murfitts spent a year developing a new hybrid pitch infill PRO-gran, that is primarily still made from the recycled rubber and then encapsulated in polyurethane. The coating’s hard-wearing, unique formula means it lasts for at least the lifetime of the pitch, which is over 10 years; it also doesn’t break down to create microplastics.

After its lifetime on a pitch, PRO-gran can be recoated and then reused, presenting a sustainable solution for pitch owners and a valuable contribution to the circular economy.

PRO-gran has been tested to ensure it exceeds Europe’s most stringent toxicology requirements for consumer products as it releases no Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) or heavy metals.

PRO-gran made its debut in 2017 at Shelford Rugby Club in Cambridge and Cirencester FC. The infill is now played on pitches around the world from Hamilton FC to Liverpool Hope Park in the UK and SV Loosdrechect in the Netherlands to Sam Yuk Soccer Field in Macau. The hybrid infill is also making its mark in Singapore.

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