Football field lighting: everything you need to know

A football field needs an excellent lighting system to meet the needs of players, referees, insiders and spectators. Both the players and the public must have a clear view of the playing field and the surrounding areas (such as the entrance to the sports facility), whether we are talking about Serie A or lower categories.

The lighting system of a football field, in addition to being perfectly functional, must also be safe and easy to manage. Correct operation depends on good maintenance : operators must have easy access to the system structures, controls and lamp towers for replacing the lights.

The design and installation phase

The design of the system concerns the power supply of both the external lighting devices and the electrical equipment in the service areas (changing rooms, for example).

The electrical components must comply with CE and IMQ requirements. The whole system must guarantee protection against direct and indirect contacts, overloads and short circuits.

The switchboards must bear the name and brand of the manufacturer, the type of switchboard, the rated current, the nature of the current and the frequency, the rated voltage and the degree of protection. Obviously, they must be equipped with differential switches , whose rated current must be greater than the actual flow of electric current. The electrical panels must be placed in containers with IP54 degree of protection (against dust and water splashes).

The electric cables, in turn, must be insulated with G7 rubber and have a PVC sheath.

The lamp towers , which illuminate the field, can have dimensions from 16 to 30 meters and have a truncated cone shape, as well as being equipped with a “staircase” with an anti-fall device and resting “terraces” every 10 meters (to allow easy lamp replacement).
Each tower must be equipped with a ” cabinet ” with power and protection equipment, made of material resistant to shocks and electrical stresses. Cables to be connected to the projectors mounted in the towers must be three-pole.

Once the electrical system has been designed and installed in the sports facility, the checks and tests required by law must be carried out: an initial visual inspection, verification of insulation resistance, voltage drop, of the electrical panel, of the earthing and protection system.

Field lighting: what are the criteria to follow

As already mentioned, the lighting of a football field must be adequate to meet the needs of professionals and spectators.

There are several parameters to be respected : vertical and horizontal lighting, directionality and uniformity of light, glare limitation and color rendering. Horizontal and vertical
lighting are essential both for the field and for the surrounding areas: there must be an adequate “contrast” to allow the public to distinguish the players and ensure that the players, who need light in all directions , are able to follow the trajectory of the ball well.

Directionality , another essential parameter, must be measured 1.5 meters from the pitch. The uniformity of lighting , on the other hand, must be calculated on the basis of the ratio between the maximum and minimum values ​​of brightness. Finally, color rendering depends on the RA color rendering index value : the closer this value is to 100, the better the rendering.

The ideal lamps for a football field are metal halide and white light , with RA greater than 80. The lamps must be IEC and CE certified.
Floodlights can have a circular or rectangular band : if the lamp towers are arranged along the longer sides, it is better to choose a projector with a rectangular band, if instead they are arranged along the diagonals of the field it is preferable to opt for circular bands The floodlights must have insulation class I and IP65, the light control gear units must have insulation class IP20.

Finally, emergency lighting cannot be missing , which is mandatory for the safety of spectators when leaving the sports facilities.

What are the main reference standards?

The reference standards are UNI EN 12193 , relating to lighting in sports facilities, UNI EN 12665 ​​, the CEI 64-8 variant V2 standard (electrical public lighting systems) and, finally, UNI EN ISO 9001 .

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