Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan has called for more artificial pitches in the Scottish game to help counter tough winter weather conditions. After a weekend of heavy rain north and south of the border we ask whether more people should consider installing artificial grass.
It was a disastrous weekend of football in Scotland when heavy rain meant that more than half of Saturday’s SPFL games were cancelled. Now, the boss of Scottish football has called for more clubs to consider installing artificial grass pitches. Of all of the weekend games scheduled that did go ahead on Saturday, a number were played on artificial surfaces. This is due to the fact that they are tougher against heavy rainfall and other winter weather conditions. Regan has said he was open to more clubs making use of artificial pitches. With the weather we have in United Kingdom, we are surprised that there isn’t more artificial grass football pitches.
“Nobody likes missing games due to poor weather,” he told BBC Scotland. “Nobody likes playing in those conditions, not least the kids, coaches, referees and so on.”
A significant number of clubs in the Scottish leagues now use synthetic playing surfaces, including a number of teams in the top flight.
Regan said: “We have something like a third of the clubs in the SPFL moving towards 3G pitches, either in place or planned, including clubs in the Premiership now. Hamilton and Kilmarnock both have 3G pitches. There are more 3G and 4G surfaces coming into the game.”
The chief executive also encouraged a rethink on summer football and the possibility of having a winter break.
Bad weather set to continue
Authorities have warned that the bad weather looks set to continue both north and south of the border.
Met Office figures suggest that 340mm of rain fell in just 24 hours in the Lake District as thousands were forced to leave their homes throughout Cumbria.
Closer to home, parts of Lancashire were also affected by rising waters and parts of Lancaster city centre were flooded.
Dozens of flood warnings remain in place across the North of England and in Scotland.
What is perhaps most concerning is that these kind of once in a lifetime events could become more frequent in the future.
The Met Office’s chief scientist Dame Julia Slingo, speaking on BBC Radio 4 said: “Is it to do with climate change? There can’t yet be a definitive answer but we know that all the evidence from fundamental physics and what we understand about our weather patterns, that there is potentially a role.”
If climate change has contributed to these floods then we can expect these previously ‘extreme’ events to be more commonplace.
Artificial grass is suitable for extreme weather conditions
When you choose high quality artificial grass and get it fitted by a professional installer, the grass should drain water at least as well as natural turf. Once water has drained from artificial grass, the surface will be as good as new and ready to use again (without sticky mud patches).
If you live on or near a flood plain, artificial grass is a better choice than other low-maintenance garden surfaces like block paving and gravel. Water cannot pass through these surfaces very easily, and in built-up areas this can help contribute to urban flooding.