There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s Mastercard.
Mastercard’s famous slogan, launched in 1997, immediately caught the public’s imagination. Who would have believed in this day and age 23 years later it would be such a winner for them.
However today in Scotland the spotlight is on a different sort of plastic used in the Scottish Premiership namely astro turf, and it’s been unanimously voted a loser.
Astro turf commonly made of nylon or polypropylene fibres is then dyed green, to make it look like grass, it can can also consist of polyester and latex.
The first Scottish team to install a synthetic pitch was Stirling Albion, in 1987. Then Dunfermline Athletic in 2003, who at the time were playing in the Scottish Premier League. In 2005, Dunfermline were made to remove their pitch and go back to playing on a natural grass surface following complaints from players and fears over an increased injury risk.
The trend of synthetic pitches in Scotland came about mainly because of revenue issues, as Scotland do not have the benefit of EPL riches or the Televised deals on offer to the cross border clubs, another factor was weather, games called off due to waterlogged or snowed out parks, and lastly the pitch being over used, and clubs having to pay for separate training venues.
The SPFL clubs who use astroturf for their pitches, do so, in the main, so it can be used or rented out for community based events each day of the week, and generate some added revenue.
Do these SPFL clubs such as Kilmarnock Hamilton and Livingston actually need to use their main pitch as a prime revenue source ? actually no they don’t.
If we take St Johnstone as a prime example to this theory, they have a very decent grass pitch, and outside their ground they have an astroturf pitch so they can have the benefit of making money from the community for open all week community events. Why don’t the others follow this great example, I mean it’s hardly rocket science.
There is the long held debate that using these surfaces gives home players an advantage, or injuries can happen more frequently on said surfaces, that it slows the game down etc.
What i can honestly say though, is that I have never seen a good game of football played on an astro turf pitch. They are a horrendous advertisement for Scotland’s premier football. There is absolutely, without any doubt whatsoever, no need at all for plastic pitches in Scotland, if we are to show our game in a better light we need to be rid of them once and for all.
These are all issues that should be, and should have been sorted by governing bodies, the SPFL, SFA, SG, all get big money for doing very little they should be the ones taking this issue to task, and providing grants, land, aid. They are the one that Scottish football rely on to get fair televised contracts and sponsorship money, you have to ask, why are they receiving big salaries for doing nothing to better the game in Scotland.
Is it any wonder the English refer to us as a mickey mouse league or a pub league, when we accept playing on this standard of playing surfaces ?
The use of synthetic pitches was banned in England in 1995. We yet again, due to our leadership, are many years behind.
Welcome to Scotland set your watch back one hour, and your calendar back 50 years.
The above by ASWGL.
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