Bye-Bye Plastic Pitches?

By This Is Ibrox
 May 27, 2021

It is time to bring the curtain down on plastic pitches in the Scottish Premiership.

Actually, the time was all those years ago when they were first given the green light but now the clubs in Scotland’s top flight have the opportunity to banish them from our game forever, and it’s one they must take. It’s important for us as fans and it’s important for Scottish football as a spectacle.

As the final whistle rang out at Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park on Monday night and the Ayrshire side waved ‘bye-bye’ to the Scottish Premiership , it very possibly moved us closer than we have been for a very long time to the end for plastic pitches in it too.

I get that these pitches provide an extra income stream to clubs like Livingston, Kilmarnock and Hamilton. I don’t buy, however, that those in the Premiership would miss that money. More than a little part of me believes they hide behind that excuse while lapping up the competitive advantage it gives them over the teams they’re playing against.

Cards fully on the table, I am yet to see a good game of Scottish Premiership football on a plastic pitch. It slows the game down, the ball gets stuck under player’s feet, there is no tempo to the play and it often turns games into stuffy non-events. Not the type of game anyone who loves football wants to watch.

Media outlets started reporting over the weekend that it would take a vote of 11-1 by Scottish Premiership clubs to vote through the change. With Kilmarnock and Hamilton now taking their artificial surfaces down to the Championship, it left Livingston as the sole proponents of the surface in the league and what appeared to be ‘shooty in’ for all the other clubs in pushing through the ban.

According to an interview with Stenhousemuir chairman Iain McMenemy in the Daily Mail on Wednesday however, it’s not as simple as that. It turns out all 42 clubs in the SPFL need to vote on the issue with 75% in each league needing to back the move for it to pass.

That makes it a whole lot more difficult. A total of 18, yes EIGHTEEN, clubs across Scotland’s top four divisions use artificial surfaces. Livingston, Hamilton, Kilmarnock, Raith Rovers, Alloa, Falkirk, Queen of the South, Airdrieonians, Cove Rangers, East Fife, Forfar, Montrose, Queens Park, Stenhousemuir, Annan Athletic, Clyde, Edinburgh City and Kelty Hearts are all set to start next season using them. Even though only one of them is now in the Premiership, they undoubtedly all have their own aspirations to be there and banning artificial pitches may just be a hurdle they don’t want to have to overcome in future.

We were repeatedly told by Neil Doncaster last year how it is up to the clubs to make decisions on any rule changes to the competition. For the greater good of the Scottish game, now is the time for the clubs to step up and put an end to the fiasco that is artificial pitches in the SPFL Premiership.

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