English Football Rejects Artificial Turf For League One and Two Clubs

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At today’s Football League meeting, voters rejected the use of artificial turf by League One and Two clubs.

Some executives from the leagues, which are the third and fourth tiers of English football, had previously expressed interest in artificial playing surfaces, citing its financial benefits.

Rob Heys, former chief executive of League Two club Accrington Stanley F.C., believed that artificial surfaces weren’t as maligned in lower leagues as they once were. “There’s a lot of positive feeling,” he told BBC Sport back in 2012. “Not so much that everyone wants one, but there has been a definite drop in opposition.”

Brian Kane, former vice-chairman of League Two club Wycombe Wanderers F.C. echoed Heys’s sentiments in 2011, saying “I thought a move towards a return to artificial surfaces would never happen but I sense that has changed now.”

Both Heys and Kane were vocal proponents of artificial playing surfaces, but much of the soccer world still disagrees. England’s top four tiers banned artificial turf since 1988, due to complaints of injuries and a poor on-field product.

But FIFA still plans to hold next summer’s Women’s World Cup on artificial turf, despite lawsuits from the game’s top players. FIFA president Sepp Blatter called artificial turf “the future of football” earlier this year and FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said that a men’s World Cup could be played on artificial turf “sooner rather than later.”

When or if that actually happens, it looks like that World Cup won’t take place in England.

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