Conference rejects pitch request

  • Last Updated: January 29 2014, 14:17 GMT

Professional football in England will remain on grass pitches only after Football Conference clubs voted against allowing artificial surfaces.

Artifical pitches are commonplace on the continent, including in the top flight of Italian, Russian and Dutch football.

They have been banned in English professional football since 1995 and a bid by Maidstone United to be allowed to play on their 3G pitch if they are promoted to the Conference was defeated.

A Conference statement said: "The vote by the member clubs in compliance with competition regulations saw the proposal defeated by 21 votes to 11 votes. All 32 votes being cast.

"This means for 2014/15 season only natural grass turf surfaces will be permitted in all three divisions of the Skrill Conference."

The Football League voted against artificial pitches three years ago, with memories of the bouncy 'plastic pitches' of Luton, QPR, Oldham and Preston in the 1980s still remaining powerful.

Supporters say that at lower-league level, income from community use would prove a huge financial benefit and that the quality of the football is much better than on many grass pitches, especially where clubs do not have the money to spend on upkeep.

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