No Grass No Match
By Laurence Gale MSc
SPL Football Club Dunfermline were expecting to play their return second leg match against Hafnardfjordur at home at their East End Park pitch this Thursday evening. Manager David Hay wanted his players fired up against Hafnarfjordur as Dunfermline take a 2-2 scoreline into the home leg of their Uefa Cup game.
However, home advantage will not benefit Dunfermline on this occasion. Because their opposition Hafnardfjordur have refused to play on Dunfermline's artificial pitch.
The match will now be played at St Johnstone's McDiarmid Park. This decision will certainly raise a number of issues for both the club and UEFA, the governing body who sanctioned the use of the artificial pitch at Dunfermline.
Again this raises many questions ? What were the reasons for Hafnardfjordur refusal to play on this surface? Will this decision affect future games at East End Park ?
Could Dunfermline end up playing all their home games at other Clubs, with a precedent now set? Resulting in lost revenue and home advantage.
This clearly emphasises many issues in regard to the use of artificial grass pitches at senior football club levels. Many senior professional players do not like playing on artificial surfaces and prefer playing on natural grass surfaces.
I am sure this debate will go on for a long time, however today's decision to cancel a UEFA Cup game and move it to a natural grass facility is a tremendous result for promoting the game to be played on natural grass.