Plastic fantastic?

Press Releasein Football

The cuts and dents on my knees still tell the story of a series of below-par performances on the plastic pitch at Deepdale, the home of Preston North End. I was playing for my local amateur team at the time. It was the late 1980s, a few years before the articificial surface was eventually ripped up.

Bumpy, abrasive and with a bounce that could send a football into space, it was painful to play on and a poor spectacle to watch. The Preston players wore long tights for every home game, which tells you all you need to know about the quality of the surface.

Few tears were shed then when plastic pitches were formally outlawed in the Premier League and Football League in 1995, relegated, in the process, to little more than a footnote in the history of English professional football.

But all that could be about to change. An increasing number of Football League clubs are thinking of rolling back the years and going artificial again, albeit using a modern, high-tech surface that bears little resemblance to its predecessor.

It is important to stress at this stage that there is no official proposal, rather an informal discussion taking place between clubs.

Before a club can install an artificial surface, there would need to be a change to regulations. For that to happen, there would need to be a vote at an annual general meeting, with the motion only succeeding if it gets a majority of 50% plus one of all 72 clubs AND 50% plus one of the Championship clubs.

In short, we are still a considerable period of time away from a possible return to artificial surfaces. Certainly, everybody I spoke to talked in terms of years not months.

The Football League has no comment to make at the moment but I understand they are happy to let the clubs decide. They have already heard what the League's deputy operations director, Michael Tattersall, has to say after he gave a presentation to all 72 clubs in November and they will discuss the issue again in February. But it seems clear there is a real desire to find out more about the benefits of a return to artificial surfaces.

See the rest of the articlae on the following link BBC sport

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