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The idea of staging men's World Cup matches on artificial turf is out of the question in the opinion of FIFPro. "There is almost no player in the world who prefers artificial turf to grass."

Last week, FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke suggested that a men's World Cup could be played on artificial turf "sooner rather than later". He was responding to the criticism of FIFA's decision to organise the 2015 Women's World Cup on artificial turf instead of grass. Valcke added that FIFA would only accept pitches "of the highest quality".

FIFPro is very critical of the statement released through FIFA's website. For the world players union – which represents up to 65,000 professional footballers worldwide – a World Cup played on artificial turf is far from reality.

"This is not a good idea", says Tijs Tummers, Head of FIFPro's Technical Committee. "No football star on this planet wants to play on this surface. In none of the world's top leagues are matches played on artificial turf."

"FIFPro frequently conducts player surveys concerning artificial turf, and each time the conclusion was clear: there is absolutely no support for artificial turf."

To illustrate his statement, Tummers refers to the various pitch-rating systems organized by FIFPro member unions. Throughout the entire season, visiting players rate the home team's pitch. "The results are always identical: grass pitches receive far higher grades than the artificial pitches."

"Recently I was informed about the current ranking of the Dutch premier league, which has six artificial pitches, all of the highest quality. Nonetheless they occupy the bottom six places, way behind the grass pitches." (see box)

Tummers: "Why would you suggest playing the World Cup on artificial pitches, if the main actors – the players – are clear about their preference?"

 

Pitch-rating rankings The Netherlands (by Dutch players association VVCS)

 

# Team Average        
1. Feyenoord 5.0   10. Vitesse 3.3
2. Ajax 4.7   11. PSV 3.0
3. AZ 4.3     Go Ahead Eagles 3.0
  FC Twente  4.3    13. Heracles Almelo (Art.) 2.3
5.  FC Groningen  4.0      PEC Zwolle (Art.) 2.3
  SC Heerenveen  4.0    15. FC Dordrecht (Art.) 1.7
  Willem II  4.0      SC Cambuur (Art.) 1.7
8.  FC Utrecht  3.7      Excelsior (Art.) 1.7
  NAC Breda  3.7    18. ADO Den Haag (Art.) 1.3

 

 

ADO-Feyenoord-650-pu

Footage from ADO Den Haag-Feyenoord, played on artificial turf.

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