The Football League has a long and rich tradition, and throughout its history it has sought to improve the game through innovation. The introduction of three points for a win in 1981 and the end of season play-offs in 1987 are two of the best examples. Also in the 1980s, four clubs took the bold move of installing an artificial surface at their grounds.
These new "plastic pitches‟, though modern in their time and commercially successful, ultimately proved to be unpopular with most football supporters and players. In 1989, a Commission of Enquiry into Playing Surfaces reviewed the use of both artificial surfaces and natural grass, and identified issues with ball roll and bounce as well as a fear of long-term injury on behalf of some players on artificial surfaces. Whereas a clear majority of fans surveyed viewed the game as more enjoyable on natural grass, the vast majority of fans also perceived a strong home advantage to the team with artificial.
Please click on the Football League Artificial Consultation Document (right) to read and submit your comments/ vote
The Committee recommended a total ban in the then first division from 1990, and in 1995, League Regulations were amended to a complete ban in all divisions after the last of the four clubs reverted back to a natural grass pitch in 1994.
Since the mid-1990s, advances have been made in how artificial surfaces are constructed.Third generation‟ or "3G‟ pitches have been developed that more closely replicate the characteristics and performance of a natural grass surface. In 2001, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA - football‟s international governing body) introduced its Quality Concept for Football Turf, in which artificial surfaces are licensed and certified in accordance with quality criteria in laboratory and field tests.
In 2004, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) approved the use of artificial surfaces in international matches, and in the same year FIFA introduced its "2 Star Recommended‟ standard for artificial surfaces used in professional football. Since this time, the number of professional clubs using an artificial surface has expanded and UEFA has amended its rules to permit their use in its club competitions in all rounds prior to the final match.
With the use of artificial surfaces continuing to spread throughout the world of football and with the potential for clubs to benefit economically and otherwise from their use, a number of Football League clubs have requested The League to review its ban on artificial surfaces.
This consultation document is a key part of that process, and The Football League invites all those with an active interest in professional football to express a view on whether or not artificial surfaces should be used in first team matches.
English football is a step closer to reintroducing artificial pitches after the Football League announced plans to seek opinion on their possible return.
The public consultation will run until the end of April 2012 and canvas the views of clubs, fans and officials.
You can also comment on the following link http://www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22ERJWUK6Y6
The Football League's chief operating officer, Andy Williamson, said there was a "clear appetite" to reconsider the use of artificial surfaces.
You can also read The European Seeds Association ( ESA) case for natural surfaces , click on image right :-