Pitch Categories and International Matches
Q: How does the FIH classify pitches for international matches?
A: FIH has a classification system for synthetic pitches which fall into two categories: Global and National. The classification is based on a series of pitch performance requirements including the behaviour of a hockey ball and drainage characteristics tested under carefully controlled conditions on the finished pitch surface. These requirements demonstrate varying degrees of playing characteristics, safety and performance related to each category. Full details of the surface performance criteria can be found in the latest edition of the FIH Handbook of Performance Requirements for Synthetic Turf Hockey Pitches.
Q: How are the categories of pitches applied to major events?
A: Global Category pitches are mandatory for all FIH world-level competitions and qualifying tournaments such as: Olympic Games; World Cups; Junior World Cups; Champions’ Trophies; Champions’ Challenges; FIH Olympic Games Qualifying Tournaments; FIH World Cup Qualifying Tournaments. Although certain continental tournaments are organised by the respective Continental Federations, they are also qualification tournaments for the world level events listed above and therefore require the Global Category pitch. A global category pitch is also sometimes specified in continental or national tournament regulations.
National Category pitches are satisfactory for international matches and/or tournaments other than those referred to above.
In exceptional circumstances and in the interests of promoting hockey (perhaps in countries where hockey is in its infancy or some other special situation arises), the FIH will sanction events on natural grass or other surface. Consideration of the safety of the players and other participants is, however, paramount.