Could third generation football surfaces be the way forward?
By Benjamin Ron
Third generation surfaces are the newest generation of artificial turf. They are designed in such a way so that they are able to replicate and mimic an all-natural turf, offering the same ball bounces and ball rolls.
Due to third generation surfaces being an all-weather surface, come rain or shine, the pitch will always be perfect to play on. They are also free draining, which can be very beneficial to lower league teams who usually have to postpone due to reasons out of their control such as a waterlogged pitch. With a solid source of income being crucial for lower league clubs, events like this can have a massive impact on the running of a club.
Image taken by Benjamin Ron
In a recent interview I had with Cirencester Town’s Footballing Secretary and Office Manager Scott Griffin, he told us about just how important the installation of the artificial pitch has been at Cirencester Town during the covid crisis:
“We’ve been fortunate from the fact that we do have an artificial pitch and we have been able to let professional clubs or clubs that are conference level use it so that has brought a bit of income in for us but it’s been severely slashed in the return that we were getting before lockdown.”
He then went on to add:
“The 3g pitch has been the making of our club, you know, in years gone by when there was grass pitch, we were limited in how many hours we could play or train, it’s a 7 day operation which is bringing a lot of income in, it’s been the making of us really without having to rely on handouts from generous sponsors or our chairman having to put his hand in his pocket to sort of cover a bill and things like that, so yeh it has been really good for us.”
There has been speculation that 3G football pitches cause more injuries than the regular football pitch, but there has been no real evidence to back this theory up. However, the idea of playing on a third-generation pitch might not appeal to some players, with players preferring a more natural feel with a knee slide after scoring a goal or the mud baths on a cold wet night in Stoke.
For most non-league clubs, the idea of an artificial pitch would be a dream come true. By being able to use the pitch frequently and the low maintenance requirement, this will not only allow them to play and train as much as they want but will also allow them to rent out the pitches, generating extra income which is obviously very important for lower league clubs.
With more money being pumped into the footballing industry than ever before, and with that money trickling down the football ladder, we could start to see more football teams playing on third generation artificial football surfaces in the near future.