Artificial Pitches Allowed in FA Cup From Next Season

By on April 22, 2014

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Great news football lovers! For the first time in 20 years, artificial pitches will be allowed in every round of the FA cup from next season.

The rule change was recommended by the FA board who unanimously agreed to abandon ‘grass-only’ snobbery in Football, and start embracing new technology.

Current regulations mean that artificial grass is banned from the first round of the FA cup onwards and in the Conference league upwards, but the recent announcements confirm that we could start seeing artificial grass used more and more in the beautiful game!

Artificial grass got a bad reputation back in the 1990’s, when it was banned at clubs including Queens Park Rangers, Oldham Athletic and Preston North End, who all faced backlash over player safety concerns.

Since then, major advancements in technology have seen modern artificial grass developed beyond recognition, proving itself to be safer and more durable than ever.

The FA have agreed that wider use of artificial pitches would have benefits for the “grassroots football community.”

FA general secretary Alex Horne stated:

“They are a very useful asset and capable of delivering 50 plus hours per week as compared to a natural turf pitch which can deliver perhaps five hours per week.

“The value of 3G pitches has been clearly demonstrated during the recent wet weather where leagues within the grassroots game have migrated to them to address fixture backlogs.”

Minister for Sport, Helen Grant, is now backing the use of artificial pitches in the Football Conference, saying that allowing them would now be a ‘sensible step.’

The Tory MP has been discussing the possibility of allowing artificial pitches at Conference clubs with FA executives, and is due to have further formal discussions on the subject in the near future. She said:

“Of course it is for the Football Conference in conjunction with the FA to make any decision on the use of 3G pitches.

“These all-weather facilities are fantastic for community sport, promote further participation in the game at grassroots level and, crucially, get more people active and playing sport.

“I will continue to press the case for a change of the rules and will be holding formal discussions with football authorities over the coming weeks.”

There are only around 600 good quality artificial pitches in England and the FA is looking to substantially increase that number.

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