UEFA and Synthetics
By Dave Saltman
The recent announcement by UEFA to allow the use of synthetic pitches for competitive matches should not come as a complete surprise. FIFA have been pushing for this for some time, and giving licences to companies to encourage their development.
Our Message Board has been busy with comments about the decision and, for those who have not been viewing the Board, here is my response:-
"Last week I attended the Stadia summit in Berlin and had the chance to catch up with many of the natural turf guys, who you all know quite well. Following all the discussions I am in the process of putting together a balanced counter argument to some of the artificial companies more ambiguous statements.
What is encouraging is the unity between all those attending to finally take a positive stance against this seemingly impossible situation. In light of UEFA/FIFA decision to allow clubs to install 3rd/4th Generation surfaces I will be circulating a draft for all interested parties to view and review, adding substantiated positive arguments as to the benefits of natural turf.
In the clear light of day, many of us believe that these surfaces will certainly be installed by some, not all clubs and as no synthetic manufacturer has yet been able to guarantee the longevity of these surfaces following concerts and other events, we think that clubs will end up reverting to the preferred choice of natural grass.
The NFL in America has largely gone back to natural grass and is very much the preferred choice of their top professionals.
What would be great is if one of you Premier boys can have a word with a top pro and ask them to figurehead our campaign.
The synthetics guys have enrolled Pele, probably the most gifted player the world has ever seen. As Keith Kent said to me today, Pele's natural balance was a skill born out of playing on beaches and dirt pitches in Brazil!
Feel free to leave constructive comments here or e-mail your details to firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to be included in the loop to receive and comment on 'The benefits of natural grass' document that will be circulated.
Chins up lads-we are a long way from losing :)))"