Russia 2018, lessons in lighting for FIFA World Cup

Russia 2018, lessons in lighting for FIFA World Cup

It’s curtains down on the Russia FIFA World Cup, a major event followed by millions of viewers all around the world. The show was made spectacular also by the perfect lighting of the stadiums that ensured great HD TV quality.

The lighting setup of the stadiums for Russia 2018 saw the contribution of Italy, proudly represented by Disano illuminazione. The Forum spotlights, already used in the lighting installations of other international venues, were chosen for the stadiums of Samara and Saransk, which hosted the games of all the stages of Russia 2018.



Drawing on Disano’s vast experience in this type of lighting projects, we can sneak peek into the main secrets of the lighting of an international sports event like the World Cup.

Lights serve two main roles: the first one is to create the best conditions for players and officials on the playing field; the second is to ensure that the game is followed as best as possible by viewers, whether they are watching the match at the stadium or from their TV at home.

In the case of a global event like the World Football Cup, with millions of viewers and huge advertising investment, nothing can be left to chance.

The International Football Federation (FIFA) issued a publication defining the technical requirements and recommendations for the systems in stadiums used for international competitions. An entire chapter of this publication is devoted to lighting.

As a general principle the introduction to the chapter states: “A lighting system must be installed which meets the needs of broadcasters, spectators, players and officials without spilling light into the environment and without creating a nuisance for the local community.”

In detail, this means that players, referees and viewers in the stadium must be placed in the best viewing conditions from any point of the playing field, without being affected by glare, while HD cameras must be able to capture the entire event without the risk of dark spots or insufficient lighting. Moreover, everything should be done to avoid light spills inside and outside the stadium.


Five categories of lighting systems

As for the technical requirements, FIFA classifies lighting systems into five categories:

Class I           Non-televised training and recreation

Class II          Non- televised leagues and clubs

Class III        Non-televised national games

Class IV        Televised national games

Class V          Televised international games

For each category, the lighting systems should meet the minimum requirements to be approved by FIFA. The parameters taken into account are the levels of horizontal and vertical illumination.

Apart from the amount of light (lux), another important parameter to measure is the level of uniformity in order to not negatively affect the viewing of the televised event when passing from very illuminated zones to poorly illuminated ones.

The importance of illuminance uniformity

Modern football is played faster than in the past and lighting uniformity is essential for both players and the quality of televised images.

Horizontal Uniformity is defined as “a measure of light reaching a horizontal place, one metre above the playing surface”. It is calculated by dividing the playing field into a 10×10 metre grid in order to measure the maximum/minimum/average illumination and obtain the uniformity co-efficient.

Uniformity can be calculated in two ways, with the co-efficient of variation (CV) or the uniformity gradient (UG).

Below are the values required by FIFA for televised and non-televised events:


Vertical illuminance is calculated at field level, both at players’ level and with respect to the vertical surface of the pitch. The objective is to eliminate variations of light (under or over illuminated areas) for hand-held or motorised cameras that capture players’ close-ups and specific moments of the match, as well as for field cameras that capture areas of the playing field.

Moreover, FIFA dictates the minimum requirements for another two important parameters that ensure quality digital video: colour temperature and colour rendering.

The table below shows the minimum FIFA requirements for the lighting systems of stadiums of Class IV and V (televised national and international competitions):


The position of cameras

Illuminance values are considered with respect to the position of cameras, whether fixed or motorised, and FIFA has defined the points where cameras must be installed for a perfect capturing of the event. An example is shown below:


Moreover, to prevent glare that may disturb the game, FIFA also defined some no floodlights zones:

Corner goal-line area where lighting fixtures shall not be placed within an area of 15 degrees on either side of the goal line in order to maintain good visual conditions for the goalkeeper and attacking players in the corners.

Behind the goal line where lighting fixtures shall not be placed within 20 degrees behind the goal line and 45 degrees above the horizon from the goal line in order to maintain good visual conditions for the goalkeeper and the attacking players in front of the goal.





The Cosmos Arena

To provide a practical example of a stadium illuminated during Russia 2018, we can consider the lighting system of the Cosmos Arena, the stadium in Samara where the quarter finals between Brazil and Mexico and between England and Sweden were held.


The lighting system for this stadium consisted in 324 Forum floodlights (Disano) generating vertical illuminance values >2000 lux on all cameras (Uniformity U1=min/med 0.70 – U2=min/max 0.6) and horizontal illuminance >3500 lux (Uniformity U1=min/med 0.80 – U2=min/max 0.70).


Environmental impact

FIFA takes into careful consideration of the environmental impact of the stadium on the surrounding community. To this end, it measures two parameters: spill illumination in an area of 50 meters around the stadium and glare generated from the illuminated facility in the city where it is located.



This is why FIFA recommends the use of high-efficiency fixtures with forms and accessories that limit light spills.

Below are the values recommended by FIFA to protect the environment:

The ideal floodlight

What kind of features should a floodlight for this type of system have? As explained above, to meet the requirements set out by FIFA, we need fixtures with extraordinary quality, in terms of energy efficiency, light output and light quality.

On top of these features, Disano’s Forum floodlights add other special design and construction specificities that allow aiming light with the maximum precision and adjust illuminance levels without spills.


The top-notch design and manufacturing quality of Forum as well as the experience matured in the lighting of high-level sport venues all over the world converge into a new generation of floodlights, Forum LED, the fixture that brings the LED technology into the lighting of large sport stadiums.

Forum LED, a new generation


The range of Forum LED floodlights was made to obtain maximum lighting performance in any type of system.


Forum LED has a modular design to obtain the best out of LEDs and the highest possible flexibility. The designer can choose from different versions (with one, two or three LED modules) with different power outputs and light beam angles.

All this contributes to getting the best lighting result, without wasting light and energy.


The precision optics and the special aiming devices are helpful to create a perfect lighting system, without glare and maximum visual comfort for the audience and players.


The high lighting quality, with colour temperature of 4000 K (or even 5700 K), and a very high colour rendering (up to CRI 90) are fundamental for high-definition televised events. Another important requirement is the very low flicker level.

With Forum you can meet the highest lighting standards required by UEFA and FIFA for sports events, while saving up to 40% of energy compared to the previous technology.

It is an exceptional result for a true champion of lighting excellence!

  • Posted by Redazione
  • On September 10, 2018
Tags: Russia2018, venues


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