Tag: grass pitches

“Playing grass or astroturf?” – Rodric Leerling

astro-turf-fillingThis week, a report was released with suggestions to improve professional football in the Netherlands. It contains ideas to create a more level playing field for exactly that: the playing field.

Thing is, in Holland, out of the 18 pro clubs playing in Eredivisie, 5 play on astro turf and 13 on natural grass. That’s not considered fair and quite unique in the world. The advice to the Dutch FA (KNVB): pro clubs should either all play on grass or all on astro turf.

But another (tv) report this week really shook Dutch amateur football heavily. It reported about the total of currently 2.000 (!) astro turf fields where 90% are filled with car tyre granular rubber which might be a health danger. A small number of clubs (read: local governments) has chosen cork or sand as filling.

FYI: 95% of my amateur youth games these days are played on astro turf. Youngsters will soon have forgotten totally how real grass feels (and smells). Last Saturday I witnessed what happens when they are sent to real green grass. Swearing the stupid bumpy surface where the ball has a different feel, running slower mostly.

But the potential health dangers of playing on artificial grass with granular rubber filling might change their attitude (or probably their parents’). Goal keepers who are in the floor mostly can get in trouble when swallowing the tiny rubbers pieces or when the toxic elements enter the bloodstream with a small wound.

Alternative: replace the rubber filling with cork. More expensive but no health danger. Let’s see how many clubs (or local governments) will intervene and cancel playing on astro turf until better research is being conducted. And in the meantime: dress goalkeepers so they are covered on arms and legs.