1970-1980s Although artificial turf was first developed in the late 1960s in the United States it was to take another decade before it reached Europe. The so-called second generation of synthetic turf proved ideal for sports such as hockey thanks to its flatter surface, but not for soccer, as sliding tackles resulted in abrasion injuries from the sand infill. Then another decade later technological and scientific advances made it possible to develop a surface suitable for football.
1990s  The second half of the nineties witnessed the development of the third generation of synthetic turf – a radical improvement upon previous turf surfaces in terms of player safety and game consistency. This one proved to be in a class of its own; the grass had longer fibers (>40mm) spaced further apart, which enabled soccer shoe cleats to sink well into the surface and in turn put less stress on players’ joints and allowed the foot to get under the ball. The carpet – usually made of polypropylene – was replaced with polyethylene, which is softer for the skin. The pitches were also spread with rubber granules in addition to sand to ensure a comfortable playing surface even when tackling.
Today and Tomorrow

Today we are in the early development cycle of the fourth generation of artificial turf systems – which is bringing with it softer, stronger fibers and new infill and non-infill systems as well as responding to increasingly demanding environmental and broader sustainability, responsibility and performance criteria.

Football associations such as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and FIFA, the governing bodies for soccer, now recognize the value of artificial turf in soccer and have produced guidelines to certify artificial pitches. This has prompted major European clubs such as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and FC Ajax to adopt artificial pitches. The snowball effect of adopting these changes has already begun.

Artificial turf is gaining acceptance - The 2015 FIFA Women’s football championship, in which USA was the happy team in the final match in Vancouver, marked a turning point in the use of artificial turf in elite football competitions. For the first time, the entire World Cup competition was played on artificial turf, from the training venues to the actual competition fields in the six stadia which hosted the 52 games of the tournament.

Overall, we are facing a rapidly changing market and a rapidly changing game. The next generation of artificial turf systems is quite capable, however, of meeting the stringent performance and safety needs of the game of soccer.