Synthetic pitches to be allowed in FA Cup next season
LONDON (Reuters) - Synthetic pitches will be allowed in every round of the FA Cup from next season, the English Football Association announced on Monday.
Current rules bar the use of so-called 3G (third generation) surfaces after the first round.
FA general secretary Alex Horne said the rule change had been recommended by the board and wider use of synthetic surfaces would have benefits for the "grassroots football community".
"They are a very useful asset and capable of delivering 50 plus hours per week as compared to a natural turf pitch which can deliver perhaps five hours per week," he said.
"The value of 3G pitches has been clearly demonstrated during the recent wet weather where leagues within the grassroots game have migrated to them to address fixture backlogs."
Artificial surfaces were banned in English professional soccer in 1995 after Queens Park Rangers, Luton Town, Oldham Athletic and Preston North End had used `plastic` pitches in the 1980s.
The FA said there were around 600 good quality artificial grass pitches in England used for training and development and they were looking at plans to get more delivered in the long-term.