Floodlights play a valuable role in the delivery of football across all levels of the game.
From the professional game to the National League System, artificial lighting is an essential requirement. Floodlights also enable 3G Football Turf and other artificial pitches to provide extended community use which allows increased hours of play for grassroots matches and training.
Natural Grass Pitches & Competitive Matches
Floodlights are required as part of league ground grading criteria for any club playing from Step 6, Hellenic Premier League Division One, upwards in the male game and Step 2, FA Women’s Championship, in the female game. Clubs wishing to compete in FA Competitions and The National League System must achieve the lighting standards set for the competition or league they wish to participate in with the specification increasing with the level of football.
Clubs playing in leagues and competitions below the levels above may also participate in floodlit games as long as the rules permit their use and the lights and facilities meet FA minimum standards.
A club must have a valid approved Floodlighting Survey Chart and Floodlighting Inspection Report demonstrating compliance with competition rules to allow usage.
Natural Grass Community Pitches & Training
Installation of floodlights on community grass pitches tends to result in overuse and subsequently pitches that are of poorer quality or not fit for purpose. This overuse can lead to increased levels of maintenance which ultimately results in a greater time and cost commitment.
On this basis such projects are not encouraged and funding is not easily obtained unless clubs can demonstrate there is limited access to alternative appropriate floodlit facilities and training on separate training areas can help reduce the pressure on the main playing pitches. If there is sufficient space clubs are encouraged to consider portable floodlighting solutions when training on grass pitches.
3G Football Turf Pitches – Competitive Matches & Training
Floodlighting is essential to maximising the use and improving the economic sustainability of artificial grass pitches. As well as providing training opportunities those artificial pitches that have FIFA Approved, FA Registered 3G Football Turf surfaces also provide clubs with the ability to play competitive games. Where no league or competition requirements are stated the minimum levels of floodlight performance should be in accordance with FIFA’s Class II which for 11-a-side football is a minimum maintained average illumination of 200 lux.
To minimise running costs and for flexibility of use, the lighting system should allow part illumination of the pitch (half pitch and/or thirds) and a lower level of lighting for training which is a minimum maintained average illumination of 120 lux.
Maintenance & Testing
Following regular use lighting systems will normally suffer deterioration in lighting performance, typically in the order of 15% – 25%. Regular maintenance will help reduce any deterioration and thereby extend the life of bulbs, lamps and columns. Failure to carry out general maintenance in accordance with manufacturer guidelines will result in a declining performance system which can affect warranty, compliance with competition rules and ultimately lead to a system that is deemed unsafe.
Clubs competing in the National League System are required to provide an updated certification (Floodlighting Survey Chart & Floodlighting Inspection report) every two years.
More information on floodlighting, technical requirements, planning permission, project design and implementation can be found in the following FA Guide:
DOWNLOAD: FA GUIDE
Clubs who play in, or have promotion confirmed to, Step 6 and above of the male National League System or Step 2 and above of the female pyramid can apply to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund. The amount and percentage of funding available is dependent on the level of football played. More information on this fund can be found by CLICKING HERE.
Light-emitting Diode or LED floodlights are high powered lights that are mainly used to illuminate large areas because they produce instant powerful light across a wide beam angle. LED lights provide a brighter, quality light, with a lower running cost and longer lifespan.
Installing or upgrading to LED lighting can at first seem costly but the saving made will outweigh the installation cost over several years through reduced energy usage and reduced maintenance requirements without compromising the performance of the floodlighting.