24 Jul 2014 | Digital editions, magazines, websites, e-zines, handbooks and contract publishing for the leisure industry

Leisure Opportunities issue 637, 2014 is now out!


Read blogs by writer:

Liz Terry

Kate Cracknell
Health Club Management

Jak Phillips
Head of News,
Leisure Media

Katie Barnes
Managing Editor,
Spa Business

Our guest writers:

Eva McDiarmid
Chief Executive,

Aleatha Ezra
Director of park member development,
World Waterpark Association

Jennifer Fields
Communications Coordinator,
Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Maria Zolotonosa
Project Manager,

Kurt Janson
Policy Director,
Tourism Alliance

Peter Ducker
Chief executive,
Institute of Hospitality

Ian Taylor

Ufi Ibrahim
Chief Executive,
British Hospitality Association

John Goodbody
Sports Journalist

Sam Coulstock
Customer Relationship Director,

Lucy Schweingruber
Fundraising and Events Manager,

Louise Routh
Marketing and communications director,
Springboard UK

Philippe Rossiter
Chief Executive,
Institute of Hospitality

David Grevemberg
Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games

View all guest writers

SAPCA welcomes Football League's synthetic turf consultation

17 Feb 2012
by Chris Trickey, Chief Executive, SAPCA
No-one would argue that most players would prefer to play on a top quality natural pitch if they can, but the fact is that many can't, and in many cases synthetic turf will provide a much better playing experience.

The Sports and Play Construction Association (SAPCA) certainly welcomes the Football League's public consultation on the use of synthetic turf surfaces; SAPCA will take part in the survey and will encourage the industry to do so.

SAPCA and its members are keen to promote high standards for both natural and synthetic turf surfaces for football, and to ensure that there is a well-informed debate about the relative merits of both types of pitch. The choice of surface shouldn't be presented as a battle for supremacy between natural and synthetic turf; each has its place and a decision about what is most suitable should be made for each individual facility, whether at a professional football club, the local park, or a school.

The last decade has seen very significant growth in the installation of the "third generation" or 3G surfaces across the UK, using relatively long-pile yarns with rubber and sand infills. These surfaces have been developed to replicate the playing performance of high-quality natural turf surfaces and have become very popular for football, with numerous grassroots facilities funded by the FA and the Football Foundation. They perform so much better than the old sand-filled surfaces installed at a number of professional clubs in the 1980s that they would be unrecognisable to players from that generation.

Since then there have been important technological advances in the yarns and fibres used for synthetic turf. There is now a much wider range of yarns available, with different profiles, shapes and thicknesses, which make it easier to achieve the playing performance needed. Fibres are now also more durable, enabling surfaces to achieve longer life expectancy. Standards of pitch design and construction have also improved significantly.

No-one would argue that most players would prefer to play on a top quality natural pitch if they can, but the fact is that many can't, and in many cases synthetic turf will provide a much better playing experience. The demand for synthetic turf will also continue to be fuelled by clubs and other facilities where there is a practical requirement for more intensive usage  for football and other activities - and a need to boost revenue, to ensure financial viability. It's inevitable that we'll see more regular use of synthetic surfaces in the professional game eventually.

Unfortunately much of the opposition to synthetic turf for football appears to be based either on players' experiences from twenty plus years ago, which are out-of-date, or a more emotive view that synthetic turf is somehow a threat to the traditions of the game, to be resisted in football and other professional sports come what may. Yet it can't really be a question of whether the playing performance of modern synthetic turf is good enough, otherwise FIFA simply wouldn't allow it for professional competition and wouldn't have invested many millions of Swiss francs in new 3G pitches around the world in its efforts to develop the sport globally.

It is important to remember that synthetic surfaces for football have come a very long way since the 1980s - hopefully the Football League's consultation will produce a timely and healthy discussion within the game, but based on sound knowledge and informed opinion.

Tags: sport & recreation 

Share this story
Connect with Leisure Opportunities
Follow us:
Download PDF
View Turning Pages
Sign up:
Instant Alerts
Print edition

Comments (0) Be the first to comment!

You must be logged in to comment.   Login | Register

Not registered? Click here to register

Recent posts by Chris Trickey

Connect with sportsmanagement.co.uk


Latest tweets from sportsmanagement.co.uk

Latest jobs from sportsmanagement.co.uk

Site Manager (Jorvik Group)

Company: JORVIK Viking Centre, Salary: between £17,000 and £18,270 per annum, Location: York, United Kingdom

General Manager (Maternity Cover)

Company: The Gym Group, Salary: £25,000 - £35,000 + bonus + optional PT income, Location: Birmingham, United Kingdom

Personal Trainers

Company: The Gym Group, Salary: 100% of your PT earnings, Location: Reading, United Kingdom

Student Activities Coordinator - Give Sport a Go

Company: University of Salford Students' Union, Salary: £20,374, Location: Salford

Chief Executive Officer

Company: Bramley Baths, Salary: £30,000 pa, Location: Leeds, United Kingdom

Fitness Instructor/Duty Manager

Company: Charing Cross Sports Club, Salary: £19,000 - £23,000 excluding monthly bonus, Location: Hammersmith, West London, United Kingdom

Business Strategy Manager

Company: Gedling Borough Council, Salary: Band 9: £27,323 - £28,922 pa, Location: Nottingham, United Kingdom

General Manager

Company: Sheffield International Venues, Salary: Circa £47,500 per annum plus benefits, Location: Scarborough, United Kingdom

SDO Multi-Sports Instructors

Company: LeisureForce, Salary: IRO £18,500 pa tax free, Location: Saudi Arabia

Group Exercise Class Teachers and Personal Trainers

Company: LeisureForce, Salary: Basic salary IRO £17,000 pa tax free + bonus, Location: Saudi Arabia

Director of Recreation and Spa (5 star resort hotel)

Company: LeisureForce, Salary: Up to £2,500 month tax free plus benefits, Location: United Arab Emirates

Female Fitness Manager (Ladies Only Fitness Centre)

Company: LeisureForce, Salary: IRO £21,000 pa tax free plus benefits, Location: Saudi Arabia

Female Fitness Trainer Supervisor

Company: LeisureForce, Salary: IRO £1,650 month tax free plus benefits, Location: Saudi Arabia

General Manager (large Outdoor Activities Complex)

Company: LeisureForce, Salary: Up to £35,000 pa, Location: Hertfordshire, United Kingdom

Pool Manager

Company: Parkdean , Salary: c £25k, Location: Porthcawl, Wales, United Kingdom


Company: Les Mills, Salary: -, Location: London, United Kingdom

Sales and Membership Executive

Company: Handpicked Hotels, Salary: Competitive, Location: Longfield, Kent, United Kingdom

Sports and Outdoor Education Officer

Company: Epic CIC, Salary: £23,715 - £26,640 (inc London weighting), Location: Canalside Centre, Kensington & Chelsea, United Kingdom

Cycle Manager

Company: Derby City Council, Salary: £30,311 - £33,998 a year, Location: Derby Arena, United Kingdom

Leisure Centre Manager - Trampoline Park

Company: AirHop, Salary: £30k plus bonus, Location: Surrey, United Kingdom

The Leisure Media Company, Portmill House, Portmill Lane, Hitchin, Herts SG5 1DJ.
Tel: +44 (0)1462 431385 Fax: +44 (0)1462 433909 |
About us | © Cybertrek Ltd