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Research and innovation

Discover How MatchSaver’s Innovative Pitch Cover Reduces Carbon Emissions and Enhances Football Clubs’ Sustainability While Optimising Manufacturing Costs.


There are many aspects of life in a football club that go unnoticed, one of which is used virtually all the time in the winter months, and you wouldn’t even know it’s happening. Undersoil heating has been used by the world’s football clubs for decades, ensuring pitches are kept in tip-top condition during colder months.

Although undersoil heating has revolutionised the way football clubs keep their games on track, it hasn’t come without a cost, both financially and environmentally. Clubs can expect to pay substantial sums of money for the amount of energy such technology consumes. Matchsaver has developed an innovative, insulating pitch cover that has huge potential to reduce carbon emissions within the football industry, as they prevent heat from escaping from the pitch, meaning less energy will be consumed by the under-pitch heating systems.

We’ve worked with Matchsaver on a New Product Development project to create a practical storage solution for their insulating pitch covers. Matchsaver had identified that such a product would help increase turnover, with clubs being more likely to install the pitch covers if they could be stored away effectively.


We worked closely with Matchsaver to help design a mechanism that can be installed into a trench system along the side of a football pitch. Our team worked on a scooping mechanism that would lift the insulating pitch cover out of the trench, where it would then automatically roll out across the pitch keeping heat locked in.
As part of the design process, our team conducted finite element analysis. As a result, we were able to predict how the mechanism would react to real-world forces, vibration, heat, and other physical effects dependant on which materials and mechanisms were selected. During this process, we were able to optimise the design, both mechanically and financially by using different materials.


Our design has reduced the number of components used in the design which in turn will reduce the cost of manufacturing.

Looking to future, we will be continuing our collaboration with Matchsaver on a project which will explore the energy-saving credentials of their product and look at ways their product can be applied to different markets.

We would like to thank the net zero team for their valued assistance and look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship through to the next phase of development.

Tim McCullagh, Founder & Director (Matchsaver)

NZIIC hopes to assist Matchsaver in delivering a new attractive viable product. Not only by significantly reducing the running cost of potential clients via the deployment of the roller, but also by increasing profit margins for Matchsaver through design and component optimisation.

Jason Pollock, Principal Technician (Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre)

This project is part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government, securing £300m investment.

The project will make a major contribution to the ambition of the ERDF Competitive Programme 2007-13 and by increasing the numbers and survival of business start ups in the region and increasing business productivity.

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