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Celtic And The Other Top Flight Clubs Have Done The Right Thing Banning Plastic Pitches.

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This morning, Paul Brennan over on CQN put up an interesting piece on a subject I was going to tackle myself; the decision the top flight clubs have made to ban artificial surfaces.

I agreed with virtually every word that Paul wrote. The decision is the correct one, and whilst I completely understand the clubs who have them expressing concerns, the simple fact is that, as Paul said, our game can either aim high or go low.

Now, before I go on, let me tell you that I understand, completely, what the objections are and they are largely principled and reasonable.

This is Scotland. We have one thing in abundance here; bad weather. There is one massive thing we lack; a half decent association capable of getting us a halfway decent television deal which gives the clubs real money to spend.

It is not difficult to recognise the difficulties some of these teams are going to have in moving from plastic surfaces to grass. But since there are only a handful of these teams anyway – and all of them, theoretically – with the budget to do it, this is hardly a sweeping issue.

Most of the teams in the lower leagues do not have this issue at all.

The truth is, the game here has opted to go high for once. To demand that to play in the top flight you need a good football pitch.

You need something made out of grass.

And this is not the absurd idea that its critics would have you believe.

One of the stand-out stories for me in the past year was about how Premiership Dundee could not get their game with the Ibrox club on as scheduled because of the state of their pitch (and bless them for it, because it massively worked to our favour in the end) whilst not far down the road an amateur team with a grass pitch was able to play on the same night.

I studied that story carefully for the merest hint that they were fudging or had played the game on an inferior surface; in fact, their pitch was in fine condition and looked great. So, I am moved to wonder if perhaps this stuff about the huge costs of playing on grass is really all that it’s cracked up to be.

There is certainly not logical “sporting integrity” argument, as some of these clubs have claimed.

As Paul’s piece points out, in order to qualify for the upper tiers in club licensing criteria, there are legal requirements which sides must meet, and some of them – like having a Supporter Liaison Officer – don’t, on the surface, appear necessary to the functioning of the club.

But we either want our top flight to meet a certain standard or we don’t.

It’s the little things like this, the little drives for excellence, the setting of the bar high, which will make for a better league and a better national game.

That will inconvenience some clubs and some people, of course it will … but in the end it will drag us upwards and towards something better, and that may even lead to us seeking other improvements in those areas where the difference will be impossible to deny.

Like maybe some proper governance.

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  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Thank Fuck – A wee bitty common sense prevails in Scottish Football for ONCE…

    Even Sevco fans (who are hardly the brightest on the planet) think the same way about plastic pitches –

    Glad it’ll be coming to an end in the top league…

    Fcuk’s sake even The Mighty Clachnacuddin FC have a decent grass pitch !!!!

    (Anybody know when the first season without plastic pitches is)…

    • Jay says:

      From 2026 is the proposal so I guess we have a season & a half if it is voted in. Hopefully they make the call to just introduce it at the start of the 25/26 season.

      • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

        Cheers Jay !

        It’ll probably be the start of 2026/27 knowing The Laughing Stock that is Scottish Football…

        Still better late than never and all that !

  • Fun time frankie says:

    Sorry james, but the fullwits that run the SFA WOULDN’T KNOW PROPER GOVERNANCE IF IT BOOTED THEM IN THE BAWS.HAIL HAIL

  • Matt says:

    Maybe if it’s going to cost clubs money to maintain, they could sell more away tickets to celtic supporters that would help fund it!

  • Tony McShane says:

    The players through a SPFA survey voted to abolish them . This relates to player injury and career risk on these pitches. From a spectator perspective you rarely see a good game. In trying to negotiate TV deals you have to have a good product. You don’t get this with artificial pitches.

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