FA Cup Decision Allows Artificial Pitches in FA Cup Qualifying Rounds; Green Planet Grass Applauds Decision

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Synthetic playing surfaces specialist in Perth applauds decision, projects worldwide implications as result of decision.

Green Planet Grass

When the oldest league in football makes a decision like this, it has far-reaching implications. We can see the day when natural grass fields in many parts of Australia where rainfall is at a premium are the exception rather than the rule.

Recently, the Football Association handed down a decision to allow artificial pitches in FA Cup qualifying rounds, according to an article from the BBC website. Whilst it is a big step forward it must be remembered that at this stage the decision is only a partial victory for those in favour of artificial turf, as it is only valid for the qualifying rounds.

The strongest support for artificial pitches came from League One and League Two. The clubs in the lower divisions do not have the financial support of clubs in the top leagues and so they see the large financial benefit to installing an artificial pitch. In April, the FA solicited input from everyone connected with the FA, including the Premier League, the League Managers Association, the Professional Footballers’ Association, and even the fans.

According to Accrington Stanley Chief Executive Rob Heys, “I am very pleased.” He continued, “The Football League might be one of the oldest leagues in the world but it is very forward thinking.”

Heys also mentioned that a lot of time had been put into discussing the issue, and that there was a “definite drop in opposition” to artificial pitches.

Artificial surfaces were originally banned by the FA in 1988, and the last grandfathered surface was removed in 1994. However, a lot has changed since 1994. Technology has improved artificial surfaces immensely, and more and more communities are seeing the benefits of reduced maintenance costs when using artificial turf in other venues.

Heys is of the opinion that artificial turf is a huge money-saver for clubs and communities, due to reduced maintenance costs and increased availability. Heys is particularly enamoured of the ability of clubs to use artificial pitches for training and not just matches. It also allows communities to lease the pitches out when the FA teams aren’t using them, with no damage to the pitches.

Justin Everley, Director of Green Planet Grass, a Perth synthetic turf specialist, feels that whilst the decision is a little overdue, it is a step in the right direction: “I can understand why they banned artificial turf in 1988. Most surfaces were too hard, caused increased injuries to players and didn’t play like natural grass. However the latest FIFA endorsed pitches, provide a very similar playing experience, are arguably better for the players to play on from an injury prevention perspective and allow clubs to use them all day everyday. When you add in the astronomical cost of maintaining a natural grass field, artificial pitches make sense.”

Everley concluded, “When the oldest league in football makes a decision like this, it has far-reaching implications. We can see the day when natural grass fields in many parts of Australia where rainfall is at a premium are the exception rather than the rule.”

Green Planet Grass is a synthetic grass specialist based in Perth. They make a full line of residential, sports, and industrial synthetic grass for various purposes. For more information, visit their website: http://www.greenplanetgrass.com.au/ or call them at 08 9209 2669 for a free measure and quote.

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