Scottish football must unite to push 'dangerous' plastic pitches out, slams Steven Gerrard
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard says Scottish football should unite to ensure 'elite' matches are not played on synthetic surfaces.
Gerrard has been vocally critical of the plastic pitches since his arrival in Scottish football during the summer. Kilmarnock laid their current surface in 2014 while Livingston and Hamilton put down new ariticial surfaces last year but Gerrard's complaints have prompted an in-depth assessment.
On Thursday, Players' union PFA Scotland claimed that, in a survey of players at the remaining nine Scottish Premiership clubs, 100% were against the use of plastic pitches. Players at the three clubs with such playing-surfaces were not asked so as to avoid putting them in a compromising position.
In his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday's game at home to St Johnstone, Gerrard backed the call for the pitches to be removed from top level matches.
"I agree with the majority of the players in terms of trying to get (plastic pitches) out of the game at elite levels," he said. "I didn't like playing on them, I think they are dangerous.
"I believe the game would be in a better place if there were no plastic pitches.
"I think the people that won't agree to take them out of the game have to think about the players and player safety. We have had to adapt our player selection and recovery around plastic pitches.
"We have learnt a lot on our games on astroturf and we have had to adapt to how we play on these surfaces."
When Gerrard had initially questioned Kilmarnock's pitch in August, Killie boss Steve Clarke explained that the decision to lay the pitch had originally been made on a financial basis and that it had paid off, with the club now on a 'more secure financial footing'.
However, it was revealed last month that Kilmarnock have launched a 'feasibility study' over the prospect of returning to grass.
Gerrard has now gone as far as saying that the rest of the Scottish game should help clubs revert to grass pitches.
"I respect the financial positions of clubs but I believe that the people that run this league should do more to make sure the games are played on grass. These games are broadcast worldwide. Every other elite league plays on grass so why shouldn't Scotland," he said.
"Whether it be TV, the PFA, the SFA or bigger clubs trying to support others I would be all for that as I think at the top-level we should be on grass."
Belfast Telegraph Digital