Posts Tagged ‘synthetic football pitches’

Football Association to Embrace Artificial Grass Pitches

Friday, March 14th, 2014

artificial football pitchThe FA has agreed to lift its 20 year artificial grass ban and will allow competitions to be played on non-grass surfaces from as early as next year.  It is thought the FA Cup rulebook will be changed officially later this month, permitting 3G pitches all the way up to the semi-finals.

Maidstone Football Club’s highly publicised fight to get their 3G pitch accepted into the Conference League is said to have contributed to the decision.  The club founded 3G4US, a group of organisations in support of synthetic pitches.  Recently they published a long list of all the New Year’s Day fixtures that had to be cancelled due to bad weather.  Reporting that clubs lost thousands of pounds on football’s most supported day of the year.

It is hoped that artificial pitches will help revive grass roots football in Britain.  The FA and the Government have pledged millions to fund the refurbishment and replacement of playing surfaces.  An all-weather pitch means more practice and more play for thousands of clubs that normally have to shut down when it’s too wet. 

The problem for non-league clubs is they’re wary of making changes in case it hinders progression because of stricter regulations in professional football.  Worthing FC for example are looking to go 3G but have expressed reluctance because of fears it could prevent their promotion to the Conference League.  At the moment, clubs with artificial pitches must gain written permission from the board.  No doubt organisers will welcome the FA’s decision.

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Another Premier League Footballer with Grass Allergy

Thursday, January 24th, 2013
St james park 3g football pitch

Image Credit: Wiki

In 2011, news broke that Manchester City Striker Mario Balotelli was allergic to grass.  During their match with Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League, he had to be subbed early in the second half after suffering an extreme reaction.  Apparently his face was swollen and sore to the touch; he was seen furiously scratching before Carlos Tevez took his place.  Even the anti-histamines he was given at half time did nothing to lessen the reaction.

The unfortunate ailment has become breaking news again this week.  Yoan Gouffran of Girondins, Boudreaux is expected to sign for Newcastle United today.  Gouffran has a grass allergy too for which he has sought specialist treatment.  Hopefully, the synthetic football pitch at St James Park will lessen his symptoms.

It is estimate that there are 9 million people with pollen allergies in the UK.  Grass pollen is the most common allergen, effecting sufferers between May-August, when pollen is released.  So, this is not rare or unusual, just awkward when you happen to be a professional footballer.

Artificial grass is ideal for the garden if you share Gouffran’s allergy.  You won’t need to mow it, or tend to it so there’s less chance of any nasty reactions.  Mowing sends grass pollens into the air which causes hay fever like symptoms so it’s recommended you keep your windows firmly shut from Spring to Summer.

Direct skin contact can cause violent symptoms, like the severe itching and swelling experienced by Balotelli.  A football match is a nightmare as there’s lots of skin/grass contact.  If you have an artificial lawn, you can enjoy your grass again without worry.

As allergy sufferers grow in numbers every year, it’s yet another reason for sports facilities, schools and grass roots clubs to consider artificial  pitches.  If you’re interested, read our previous post on 3G football pitches.

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