Players Seek Artificial Surface Ban

Players Seek Artificial Surface Ban: Players in the Scottish Premiership are pushing for a ban on artificial surfaces in the top flight, according to players’ union PFA Scotland.

Hamilton Academical, Kilmarnock and Livingston play on artificial surfaces.

Players Seek Artificial Surface Ban

PFA Scotland surveyed players at the other nine clubs and says it received a 100% response against their use.

Chairman Liam Craig, the St Johnstone midfielder, said they believe that removing them “will have a positive impact on our game in Scotland”.

He says the surfaces adversely impact player movement, performance and recovery – and potentially their livelihoods.

A petition with players’ signatures will be delivered to the Scottish Professional Football League calling for action over artificial pitches – and the general standard of all pitches in senior football.

The union did not ask players at Hamilton, Kilmarnock and Livingston to participate as it thought it “unfair” to put them in a compromising position.

But Craig believes all players and managers would welcome a ban because of the “inconsistency of artificial surfaces at the top level”.

“The ball rolls and bounces differently, which effects a player’s decision making,” he said.

“Movements such as running, turning and tackling on the pitch also have a negative impact on the body, which inevitably effects a player’s performance.

“Players often say it takes longer to recover after playing on an artificial pitch. This can not only effect future performances – but also team selection.”

Hearts striker Steven MacLean, when he was at St Johnstone, is an example of a player who was usually left out the side when playing on artificial surfaces because of fears over his injury record.

“If a player takes longer to recover, a manager may not select them for games on these surfaces or for a game after playing on them,” Craig said.

“A decision based on this sees a player suffer financially – the player could not only miss out on bonuses and appearance money but could find themselves out of the team for a longer period purely down to a game being played on an artificial surface.”

The PFA Scotland petition also urges the SPFL to introduce a rating system designed to improve and monitor the quality of grass and artificial pitches.

“Players in the Championship, League One and League Two want the SPFL to introduce a blanket policy to ensure all surfaces – artificial or grass – are maintained to the highest standards possible,” it states.

PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart said: “This is a strong, powerful message from our members, those that actually play the game.

“Our members do not enjoy playing on artificial surfaces in particular.

“Our members in all divisions feel artificial surfaces are often over-used and the priority seems to be community use, not first team matches, therefore these surfaces drop in standard very quickly.

“Players in the Championship, League One and League Two ask for a quicker turn around when replacing the artificial surfaces they play on.”

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