Housed in a 13-acre estate on an island in the archipelago of Stockholm, the Bosön complex is the headquarters of the Swedish Sports Federation. To keep up with the times and to ensure that the structures meet the level of excellence achieved by athletes in the Scandinavian country, indoor and outdoor facilities have been renovated with Mondo surfaces and equipment.
The "genius" Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Swedish, as well as Sven-Göran Eriksson, and the amazing trio "Gre-No-Li", composed of Gunnar Gren, Nils Liedholm and Gunnar Nordhal, which made AC Milan and their national team great during the fifties. Soccer aside, Sweden has produced champions such as the unbeatable Ingemar Stenmark and the creator of the modern V-jump in skiing, Jan Boklöv. In tennis, we find the trio of the world's No. 1 Bjorn Borg, Mats Wilander and Stefan Edberg, the winner of the cycling's Tour of Italy, Gösta Pettersson. The Swedish national handball team is one of two teams to have won the World Cup four times. In athletics, then, just to mention a few: Christian Ollson, three-time world champion and Olympic gold winner in the triple jump;Patrick Sjöberg, whose European record in high jump, 2.42 meters, remains unbeaten since 1987. One could go on and on. For a country with a population that reaches 10 million inhabitants, Sweden has an amazing ability to produce champions in various sports. This becomes less surprising when we look at national statistics and see that over 2 million 200 thousand Swedes - that is, more or less an inhabitant in the four age groups, ranging from 7 to 70 years - practice sports diligently and are enrolled in one of 22,000 sports clubs. Sports Associations can also rely on the support of a million of non-practicing members.
The numbers leave no doubt. Swedish sports are a fundamental aspect of their national culture. In this country, everybody practices a sport and takes it very seriously. The Swedish Sports Federation, the body that in collaboration with the National Olympic Committee has the task to manage, coordinate and promote the 70 disciplines practiced in an organized set up, plays a major role in the life of the country. It is so important that, from its foundation in 1903 up to the early Nineties, the presidency was traditionally governed by one of the royal family members. More recently, it is leading figures from the sporting world that have been called to the presidency:, from Arne Ljungqvist - high jump champion in the fifties and today a great sports physician and president of the International Olympic Committee's medical commission - which ran straight through 1991-2001. Then, the presidency was passed on to the former soccer goalkeeper, Gunnar Larsson who left, in 2005, for the current president, the riding champion, Karin Mattsson Weijber, who was the first woman to lead the sport in Sweden.
The headquarters of the Riksidrottsförbundet activity or RF, as the Federation’s official name is commonly abbreviated, is in Boson. As Karin Mattsson explains, the primary function of this complex " donated by a businessman to the Swedish Sports Federation,", is to be a sports training center that can "meet the needs of every athlete, without focusing exclusively on a particular sport." Above all, Boson wants to be "a center of excellence in sports that will focus on helping our athletes compete at the highest international levels."
To achieve these ambitious goals, , the Bosom complex houses not only the training facilities for athletes in all sports, but also a sports education center. From high school to university degree courses, the center offers a general education focused on sports. Their high school courses allow young athletes to prepare for their sporting careers without compromising their chances of having a good general education. University courses are designed to train teachers, coaches, sports doctors and all the sport science specialists who have always been the pride of Sweden.
In high level sports, achieving high scores inevitably comes at a cost. "Being able to maintain a high level facility with continuous investment is certainly one of our biggest challenges," says president Mattsson. To reduce dependency on public funding, and due to the great location of the Boson Complex, it is now successfully used as a conference center. The complex, which has a total of 13 hectares, is located on Lidingo island, one of the most beautiful places in the Stockholm archipelago. Even though the city is just twenty minutes away, the magnificent green surroundings and the view of the sea helps people to forget completely about traffic and city noise. This is one of the many reasons successful people, like Abba, have bought a luxurious villa in Lidingö.
Even if this location is mainly promoted for hosting conferences and business meetings, the hospitality of Bosön is still primarily oriented towards the sport industry. To that effect, the Federation has recently opened a modern hotel complex "designed specifically for young teams," says Mattsson. These teams are obviously attracted more to the sports facilities than the hotel accommodations.
To meet the expectations of high-level athletes for the Bosön complex, the Administration Council has recently decided to renew most of the installations. Karin Mattsson explains: "We are constantly seeking to develop the structure according to the needs of our end users. When the realized that the outdoor track and field had deteriorated, we decided to build two different fields, one with natural grass and one with artificial turf. Those fields were primarily for soccer, but were also designed to be used for other sports. We also took this opportunity to renew the tracks and internal systems."
For those two challenging projects, Bosön administrators have relied entirely on Mondo. "Even if it was not a requirement, we decided to rely entirely on one supplier because Mondo has an excellent international reputation and has the best references worldwide for tracks and artificial turf," explains the President. We had great expectations and we were not disappointed. "Mondo has proven to provide reasonably priced materials and outstanding service that perfectly matches our needs."
For the outdoor track, we chose Mondotrack SX, a surface designed specifically for training and competition. For the indoor track, we selected Sportflex Super X; andfor the gym, our choice was Mondoflex II, a multi sport surface.
Among the choices for the most innovative new complex, there was the construction of an outdoor soccer field with artificial turf. This decision was made to offer the best training field to the Swedish national women's team. "We wanted area field of the highest quality," said the president. "So we chose an artificial turf system able to meet the FIFA requirements. The Mondoturf FTS3 system passed all the tests and allowed us to obtain the FIFA 2 Star certification for our field."
The International Federation of Football, also known as FIFA from the official French name, Fédération Internationale de Football Association, is the international body based in Zurich, which governs soccer and its derivatives, such as 5-a-side soccer or futsal and beach soccer. Its president, the Swiss Joseph Blatter, is a strong supporter of the use of artificial turf for soccer games at all levels, including top world competitions.
Blatter claimed with all his authority, siding strongly in favor of artificial turf after a study at the University of Cologne, , that from the game’s point of view, an artificial surface is consistent all over and is similar to the best natural grass fields. Given this identity of effects on the game, there are the enormous advantages synthetic grass is able to offer.
First of all, synthetic grass provides the ability to have fields with a perfect playing surface even in places where the climate makes it impossible for natural grass to grow without needing expensive and heavy work in terms of environmental impact. Just think of the Nordic countries, with temperatures below the freezing point several months a year; or, in arid places or dry desert areas, where trying to keep alive a soccer field in natural grass would involve huge amounts of precious water.
Artificial turf fields provide important financial and environmental benefits even in temperate zones.
Artificial turf can indeed be used without problems in a much more intensive way and it can last longer than natural grass. This means that a single field can accommodate a greater number of games, drastically reducing the cost and the need to have more than one field to accommodate all the sport teams.
In order to ensure that facilities possess a game field that meet their high quality standards, FIFA has set up a rigorous system of controls to obtain the certification. There are two levels of certification: "One Star" and "Two Star", ie one and two stars.
The first level, One Star, is given to fields, with more limited requirements, such as public sports facilities or stadiums where local matches are held.
Two Star level, which is obtained after long and extensive controls, is reserved for large stadiums suitable for matches at all levels, including international championships. Only surfaces that are the most technologically advanced and reliable over time, such as Mondoturf FTS3, are able to regularly obtain this level of certification.
At the end of the interview, President Karin Mattsson Weijber reveals the objectives of the renovated Bosön complex, for soccer and other disciplines. "We want to provide a center where high level athletes will be able to improve their performance during both winter and summer. By providing sports training facilities and high level training, the various national teams will continue to use the complex as the main meeting place." As if to say, the next Sjöberg and Olsson will come from here. Perhaps the next Ibrahimovic could get started on Bosön’s new artificial turf field.