Challenges set for the FIFA Innovation Programme

Tackling the current innovation challenges in football. In order to achieve the ambitious target of obtaining tangible results within a 24-month period, the problems must be clearly defined.

The Football Technology & Innovation Subdivision is in constant dialogue with internal and external stakeholders to understand, refine and ultimately accurately formulate the current needs of the football world into specific challenges that technology providers, manufacturers, start-ups or established companies can help solve. These challenges set the clear, non-negotiable scope of the projects that are of interest and which will be considered for membership.

Clustered into four major areas of interest, football equipment & playing surfaces, officiating technologies, performance technologies and football experience technologies, the challenges are described with the clearest possible definition of the expected outcome while being aimed at enabling innovation within the given framework.

Challenge 1: artificial turf systems designed without polymeric infill

Category: Football equipment & playing surfaces

Description: The FIFA Quality Programme for Football Turf has enabled the development of football over the last two decades by offering viable alternative surfaces for the game to be played on. While many technical and biomedical issues have been tackled over the years, there is currently a pressing need to find solutions that address sustainability and, in particular, the issue of regulation in relation to microplastics. 

In part triggered by legislative initiatives but mostly based on the belief that technology is available, FIFA is looking for producers of systems designed without (non-biodegradable) polymeric infills that will nevertheless allow football to be played with the same performance levels as the systems and pitches currently certified under the FIFA Quality Programme. For the avoidance of doubt, biodegradable infill, natural infill, mineral infill or non-filled systems will all be considered under this category.

Apply to the FIFA Innovation Programme Challenges.