National League clubs to seek approval for artificial pitches
At an EGM held on Thursday the National League clubs have voted to seek approval from the Football Association for the use of artificial pitches.
The National League confirmed the decision via a statement on their website on Friday morning.
The statement read “At the EGM of The National League held yesterday at AFC Telford United, amongst a raft of company-related business, member clubs voted on a special resolution to amend Rule 24 which would incorporate a whole range of conditions and requirements in respect of playing surfaces, both grass and artificial.
Members gave their consent to the submission of Rule 24 to the Football Association seeking formal approval of all elements contained therein. This is the formal route to be taken when seeking changes to rules.
The purpose of seeking the consent of the member clubs on Rule 24 is to enable the amendment sought to be introduced in time for the 2016/17 season, thus allowing continuity for clubs already in membership and those seeking entry from Step 3 (Isthmian, Northern and Southern Leagues) at the end of this current season.
If all the elements around playing surfaces are approved, importantly it will permit the use of artificial surfaces to be included at Step 1 (National) in addition to those already permitted at Step2 (North and South).
These amendments to rule will also clarify the standards acceptable for artificial surfaces, especially as terminology will change this year to only allow FIFIA QUALITY PRO surfaces for playing of fixtures at Steps 1 & 2. Such name change will nevertheless be in line with the previously set criteria of FIFA 2Star category definition.
CEO Michael Tattersall stated: “Managers, players and fans all wish to see football played on the best surfaces, whether grass or artificial; and where either are permitted they rightly be of the highest quality possible. Rule 24 opens up those choices and will permit both across all our divisions.”
Assisting clubs with general background information and to update them on the current position relating to the criteria of artificial surfaces, a presentation was given by Mark Pover from the Football Association, He included a full explanation of the renaming of artificial surfaces, with confirmation that FIFA QUALITY PRO will be the standard for acceptance to play at Step 1 & 2. His overview was extremely helpful for the member clubs prior to the special resolution vote”