The Football Association issues position statement on 3G pitches

Wednesday 28 Jun 2017
3G artificial grass pitches are recognised as durable, safe, year-round playing surfaces

This position statement is the result of a collaboration between key stakeholders in response to questions and concerns regarding 'third generation' (3G) artificial grass pitches:

"Third generation or 3G artificial grass pitches are recognised as durable, safe, year-round playing surfaces, able to withstand intensive use and all kinds of weather. They mean more people can benefit from all the associated social and health benefits of physical activity.

"Concerns have, however, been raised about the safety associated with these pitches and their constituent parts, most commonly the presence of rubber crumb. We take these concerns very seriously.

"We have monitored numerous independent scientific studies on this issue, which have reported a very low/negligible level of concern for human health as a result of 3G pitches and rubber crumb. 

"Indeed, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has recently published its own findings, following an extensive EU-wide study, and has found no reason to advise people against playing sport on 3G pitches with rubber crumb. 

"The Sport and Play Contractors Association (SAPCA), the UK trade body for the sports pitch industry, is working to develop a voluntary industry standard that will provide restrictions that go above and beyond what is currently required for rubber crumb under European regulation.

"The FA, Sport England and leading sport governing bodies all support this approach and will continue to work with the industry to provide reassurance that pitches in this country are safe."

3G surfaces are prevalent throughout the country

In addition, FIFA has also confirmed their position on this matter and state that: "It will never be possible to exclude risk completely or prove this negative, the newer studies have confirmed the previous findings that there is no evidence of a link between contracting cancer and playing on artificial turf with SBR infill.

"A large number of studies have further confirmed that the effects of SBR rubber are as negligible as the effect of ingesting grilled foods or exposure to tyre wear on roads in everyday life."

The FA has worked together with other key stakeholders to produce a series of Frequently Asked Questions on the use of rubber crumb in 3G pitches.

These FAQs are based on information, research and material that is currently in the public domain and will be continually kept under review and updated as necessary.

However, the FAQs are not intended to be a comprehensive guidance or to replace the need for specialist technical advisors on specific site/projects or concerns.

By FA Staff