Dunfermline Athletic

More info on XL Turf

Author: Brian Duncan Date: Tuesday, 8th Mar 2005

Please find below the response to recent criticism of DAFC`s artificial pitch from the makers and distributers of XL Turf, the kind of surface used in Dunfermline

Difficult to see but the new surface looks better than the existing. 3 Mar 2005

As a supporter of the plastic pitch I am happy to provide information from XL Turf on the new surface. I understand all the reasons why people want to play on grass. In fact the grass on Dunfermline`s surface was absolutely superb on the 9th August 2003, the last game played on real grass at East End Park.

However, throughout the winter months there is normally little grass to be seen, not just at East End Park. Take the Motherwell vs Dundee United game, last week. Ian McCall should surely be despairing about grass when Alan Archibald appeared simply to slip on the wet turf and let Motherwell in to tie-up the 3 points.

I`m not saying this type of game is any better than playing on `grass` pitches at the beginning of the season, but it is certainly more consistant and better for the real footballers as the season goes on, as well as suiting the fans.

If some clubs don`t like to play on plastic, why the heck do they train on it ? That is the question that beats me !

I am also not saying this is the best surface (it may well be) but lets move forward and try it again for another season. Statistics covered below show that plastic is no worse (in fact better) than the traditional grass/mud/sand combination.

Instead of moaning about it why not get together and make it better.

Paul Hassin, Sales Director for XL Turf, says:

"There`s been a lot of negative comment about our UEFA approved prototype pitch in Dunfermline - with much of it ignoring the basic facts. I want to address these criticisms and provide a more balanced picture of the actual situation.

"First of all, comparisons with HJK Helsinki are not relevant. There are five clubs involved in the UEFA pilot scheme for artificial surfaces - Moscow, Salzburg in Austria, Almelo in the Netherlands, Orebo in Sweden and, of course, Dunfermline. HJK Helsinki is not one of them. Additionally, any comparison with the Helsinki surface is irrelevant, as our pitch is of a totally different kind to the one there.

"Our statistics show that our surface could actually be safer than grass. UEFA approved figures comparing DAFC`s injuries both on grass and on the artificial surface for the 2003 season show that there were less injuries on the artificial pitch."

"The new artificial turf we`re putting down at Dunfermline is the very latest within the XL Turf range for synthetic pitch technology - having been specially created to optimise safe footballing performance. It has been designed to be less abrasive and softer than the old pitch and will offer increased grip and improved traction. As with everything, artificial pitch technology is moving forward all the time.

"It also seems very strange that some clubs are suddenly so concerned about the long-term effects of playing on artificial surfaces, when most players in the SPL, especially at this time of year, spend much of their time on such surfaces. The 90 minutes each week players spend playing a game is nothing compared to the hours they spend on training pitches, many of which have artificial surfaces.

"We feel saddened that ill-informed scaremongering should be resorted to by other Scottish clubs just before the SPL vote on artificial surfaces on Thursday. We have worked closely with DAFC to be as open and honest as possible. Dunfermline invited all the other clubs to East End Park to give them the facts on the new pitch. And the facts are in our favour.

"The bottom line is that the new pitch is both UEFA and FIFA approved and that even UEFA President Lennart Johannsson has said that artificial pitches in football will be accepted. Indeed, the decision to allow UEFA and FIFA matches to be played on approved artificial surfaces means that the team that wins the SPL this season could end up playing on an artificial surface in Europe next season.

"At the moment DAFC are pioneers and the club has had to put up with some scepticism, but people laughed at Christopher Columbus when he said the world was round and down the line I think people will wonder what all the fuss was about.

For further information on XL Turf please contact Melissa or Sophie at Cooke and Brand PR on e-mail sophie @ cookeandbrandpr.co.uk

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