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The evolution of floorball from parquets to synthetic flooring – 14.06.2018

In the beginning of the 90s most of the indoor sports venues were still equipped with parquets. Synthetic, vinyl flooring didn’t become common until the 21st century. With the introduction of vinyl flooring the character of top floorball has changed completely.

The World Floorball Championships (WFC) have been played on vinyl flooring since 1996.
– First, we worked with Tarkett, but since season 2002-2003 we have partnered with Gerflor, explains the International Floorball Federation´s (IFF) Secretary General Mr. John Liljelund.
Gerflor owns the rights for the Taraflex brand and ever since all IFF Championships have been decided on Taraflex floors.

Long-term co-operation
A company called Uudenmaan PR-lattiat began importing Taraflex floorings to Finland already 25 years ago. The Finnish Floorball Federation (FFF) and Finnish league have worked with the company for a long time.  The managing director and founder (est. 1987) Rauno Nuoramo was actively promoting synthetic flooring to the Finnish Floorball Federation and a few other federations. In autumn 1997, accompanied by a French Gerflor representative, he had his first meeting with FFF to present the Taraflex flooring.
– At the time floorball was still a marginal sport in the country but growing very fast, Nuoramo reminisces.
In the early days the collaboration between the FFF and Uudenmaan PR-lattiat consisted mainly of visibility on the national team’s jerseys and training gear. Due to the collaboration the federation had one Taraflex flooring set, which was used wherever there was an international match organized by the Finnish federation. Nevertheless, since the end of the 90s all international events, which were staged by the Finnish federation have been played on vinyl flooring owned by the federation.

Meaningful decision
In 2007 the Finnish floorball league made the decision that matches will have to be played on vinyl flooring. The league acquired all league teams a flooring set of their own. The FFF Society Relations Director Jari Kinnunen, who was the managing director of the league at the time the decision was made, recalls the move from parquet to flooring in the following fashion:
– After one season of piloting with the flooring the league decided to make playing on flooring mandatory for the league teams starting from season 2008-2009. In practice this meant that the company responsible for sales and marketing (SSBL Salibandy Ltd), owned by the federation, acquired a Taraflex flooring set for each league team. In this fashion we were able to standardize the field of play for the Finnish floorball league, Mr Kinnunen explains.
– Not only did the standardization have a significant effect on play, this decision also had a big impact on branding the Finnish floorball league as a product. No longer did the fields of play have the confusing multitude of markings typical for multisport parquets and from now on there was a cohesive look and feel for each league game, no matter at which venue it was played at, Mr Kinnunen points out.
– This forced decision to move to vinyl flooring also aimed at changing attitudes. There was strong trust that the Floorball league would be setting an example. The aim was to influence the planning of new indoor venues that they would rather consider vinyl flooring instead of parquets. It is a known fact that the cost structure for purchase, use and maintenance of a vinyl flooring is significantly lower than that of a parquet. A synthetic flooring also far more combinational as most of indoor sports prefer the use of such, Mr Kinnunen further arguments.
Since the inauguration of the flooring demand for the league it has also become a requirement for the Women´s league, Men´s I-division, U19- and U17-category Men´s Finnish Championship and U19-category Men´s I-division

Finland houses about a hundred floorball venues with vinyl flooring
– Vinyl flooring promoted home field equality for all league teams and changed the character of top floorball completely, managing director Rauno Nuoramo states.
– The friction of the ball and the stick decreased significantly, and we also experienced a big decrease in ankle injuries, he lists the advantages.
– Most of the synthetic surfaces are primarily so called acoustic floorings. The Taraflex surface has been developed specifically on the terms of sport, Nuoramo emphasizes.
– Therefore, it is most suitable for floorball and many other sports.
– Finnish sports venues house roughly half a million square meters of Taraflex flooring, Nuoramo estimates.
– It is virtually impossible to estimate how much floorball accounts to as same venues and halls also host for instance volleyball and handball. But to put a number on it I would say that there are about a hundred floorball arenas.  

Source: originally published in Finnish by the Finnish Floorball Federation:
               Salibandyn evoluutio johtanut parketeilta synteettisille pelialustoille