It was in 1984 in London, when the first international meeting of experts and laboratory repre-sentatives met in order to listen to presentations from the British Sports Council. The Sports Council had run a testing project to evaluate the performance characteristics of sand filled artifi-cial turf and specified standards of surfaces for soccer pitches. Many know this point in time as the introduction of the Winterbottom Report. Since participation was limited to those receiving an ad-hoc invitation from the Sports Council, the delegates felt that a platform was needed for con-tinuous discussion and evolving information on the rather new type of sports surfaces (non-filled artificial turf was created in 1966 by Monsanto/Astroturf, but was primarily limited to Hockey pitches). Thus, the idea of founding an international association was proposed and the Interna-tional Association of Sports Surface Sciences – ISSS came into being.
The founding event took place in May 1985 in Switzerland. Among the founding members were Vic Watson (GB), Cay Hegermann (N), Hans-Peter Knauf (D), Hans-Jörg Kolitzus (D/CH) and Prof. Wolfgang Baumann (D). The statutes distinguish 3 categories of membership: Scientific Body Members (active testing labs), Individual Membership (mainly design professionals without testing activities) and Honorary Membership. The ISSS was registered as an association under Swiss law. The current version of the statutes is dated 2003.
The ISSS is an Association of technical experts involved in the investigation and development of testing sports surfaces. Members of the Association may be individuals, scientific institutes, test-ing laboratories, sports federations or public authorities. All members are independent of the in-dustries involved in the manufacture, supply and installation of these surfaces.
Initially, the ISSS was the only public platform of communication in this field. Its members are and have been essentially/substantially involved in aiding various national standardization pro-cesses. In 1989, the European Standardization Committee (CEN), with the support of many ISSS members, has also adopted this process. Additionally, in the year 2000 when FIFA stepped in, many ISSS members were involved in the preparation of the FIFA quality manual. ISSS Round Robin data has also been provided to ASTM for publication on repeatability and reproduc-ibility of several test methods.
The ISSS sees itself as a forum promoting discussion and the open exchange of information between sports researchers, testing laboratories, sports medicine, bio-mechanics and facility proprietors. The ISSS manages its goals through Technical Conferences being held biannually at varying international locations. Delegates are ISSS members as well as experts from the surface manufacturing and installing industry. The results are published on the ISSS website (section “conferences”). A very important activity is the management of Round Robins in order to deter-mine the measuring uncertainty and vetting of the various test procedures.