FA Statement on 3G Pitches
FA Statement - January 2017
‘Third generation football pitches are recognised as a 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.
From time to time, concerns are raised in the media as to the safety or environmental risks associated with these pitches and their constituent parts, commonly the presence of rubber crumb. We take these concerns very seriously.
We have monitored numerous independent scientific studies on this issue, none of which have identified a risk to human health and environmental safety as a result of 3G pitches and rubber crumb. DEFRA is the lead agency on this matter and is currently contributing evidence to an EU-wide study. We will continue to work with them to remain at the forefront of research and therefore ensure the safety and wellbeing of people who use 3G pitches.
In response to public concern we are in discussions with the Sport and Play Contractors Association (SAPCA), the UK trade body for the sports pitch industry. SAPCA are considering developing a voluntary industry standard for pitch infill materials that will provide tougher restrictions than currently required for rubber crumb under European regulation. Sport England and the sport governing bodies all support this approach and will continue to work with the industry to provide greater reassurance that pitches in this country are safe.
In the Netherlands, new research released in December 2016 from the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment indicates that the health risk of playing sports on artificial grass with an infill of granulated rubber is ‘virtually negligible’