Artificial pitches could make return with formal consultation announced

 

Artificial pitches could make a return to English football after club chairmen voted to hold a formal consultation on the controversial surfaces.

The so-called 'plastic pitches' were banned in all four divisions in 1995 when the likes of Luton and QPR were deemed to gain too great a home advantage from having an artificial surface.

Now the Football League say there is a "clear appetite" among some members to take advantage of the improvement in artificial pitches - they have now been sanctioned by FIFA and UEFA and are used in many countries.

Football League chief operating officer Andy Williamson said: "For the first time in 20 years there is a clear appetite amongst a number of Football League clubs to reconsider the use of artificial surfaces for first-team matches.

"It is fair to say that the Football League currently has an open mind on the issue, however it is a decision that will clearly have implications for all those with an interest in professional football.

"It is important therefore that everybody gets the opportunity to have their say."

It is thought that Accrington Stanley and Wycombe are among those keen to have artificial pitches.

The consultation will be open to all clubs, governing bodies and leagues, as well as other football groups such as the Professional Footballers' Association, the League Managers' Association, referees' groups, groundstaff and fans.

The issue will be discussed at the Football League's summer conference being held on May 31 and June 1.

PA

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