FIFPro Opinion: Artificial pitches
Over recent years, FIFPro’s Technical Committee has gauged the opinions of its members regarding artificial pitches on various occasions. Our surveys have shown that the majority of professional players throughout the world are still opposed to playing official matches on artificial pitches.
The main argument put forward is that football on artificial pitches produces a different game to football on natural grass. The players also believe that there is a greater risk of injury on artificial pitches. Figures do not confirm this fear, although the nature of the injuries on artificial pitches is different to on natural grass. Also, the constant changing from one surface to another is experienced as extremely annoying.
There is nothing better than a good natural grass pitch and for this reason FIFPro is opposed to competitive professional football matches being played on artificial pitches at locations where natural grass can be used without any problem.
Consequently, FIFPro is promoting the qualities of natural grass (for example via the Groundsmen of the Year elections) and it is insisting to organisations such as FIFA and the various confederations that at least as much energy be devoted to the development of natural grass pitches as it is to artificial pitches.
Nevertheless, FIFPro is also thinking constructively with regard to the development of artificial pitches. FIFPro has insisted that FIFA let the experiences of the players be heard during football turf meetings so that experts can then use them to improve the artificial pitches.
Following a long period during which the opinions of players were ignored, FIFPro has been participating in these FIFA-organised meetings since 2007.
FIFPro recognises the value of artificial pitches in countries where climatic conditions make the existence of a high-quality natural grass surface unfeasible. Artificial pitches can then be an alternative, in which case it is of great importance that they approximate the quality of a perfect grass surface as much as possible. Artificial pitches may also offer a solution for youth football and training sessions, especially during the winter period in northern countries.