Posts Tagged ‘artificial football pitches’

Weather nightmare for local football clubs

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

artificial grass pitchLatest Met Office figures revealed that January 2014 was the wettest ever recorded in many parts of the country.  This season, grass roots football clubs face serious challenges.  With so much rain, practice is called-off and matches are frequently cancelled. 

Organisers are in despair as teams are regularly beaten by the weather – Woolton FC in Merseyside has had to call-off 9 games in a row.  The Football Association chief executive has reported that in Herefordshire, some clubs haven’t kicked a ball since the middle of December.

80% of amateur football is played on council grass pitches.  Local authority budgeting has cut football subsidies and hire rates have increased as much as 300 per cent.  These pitches are not just expensive, they’re poor quality too.

In a BBC interview, a spokesperson from the FA said that pitches were in an ‘abhorrent state.’  They are waterlogged from the heavy rain and suffering from wear from overuse.  He argued there must be a move to artificial football pitches.  A fake grass pitch can hold 2-3 games per week, providing facilities for up to 60 teams to train and play.

The Government and FA Facilities Fund is investing £102 million in improvements, including 150 new or refurbished artificial grass pitches.  However, a club in Bristol who says they regularly have to turn away under 16s, say they have been rejected for funding multiple times.  Maybe Wayne Rooney could help?

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High altitude artificial football pitch

Friday, March 8th, 2013
artificial grass pitch in the Alps

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Swiss team FC Gspon have the highest football stadium in Europe.  At 2,000m (6,560ft) above sea level, it’s so high that grass won’t grow so they had to opt for an artificial pitch.

Ottmar Hitzfeld stadium is located high in the Swiss Alps, near the resort of Zermatt.  There are no roads so players and supporters take the cable car up the mountain from a nearby village.  While access may be poor, the upside is that the views are specular.

The high altitude pitch is yet another amazing application for fake grass.  As altitude increases, the climate changes and the air becomes colder and drier.  These conditions are unsuitable for growing natural grass.  The grass cannot take root sufficiently so would not be strong enough to cope with play.  The only solution: an artificial pitch that can withstand any climate.

It is a common problem in Colorado; citizens grow hardier, hybrid grass species and seed at certain times of the year.  This wouldn’t be an option for a professional football facility.

Readers may remember the controversy in 2007 where Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia were banned from hosting world-cup qualifiers as an altitude of 2,500m gave acclimatised players an unfair advantage.  After much protesting, FIFA were forced to back down.

Bolivia’s Estadio Hernando Siles is the highest in the World at 3,577m above sea level.  The highest in the UK is The Hawthorns at 552ft – West Bromwich Albion also play on an artificial grass pitch.


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