Guinness Premiership
Premier Rugby keen on artificial pitches
May 9, 2010
Sale director of rugby Kingsley Jones on the pitch at Edgeley Park, Sale Sharks v London Wasps, Guinness Premiership, Edgeley Park, Stockport, England, November 27, 2009
Sale Sharks' clash with London Wasps was postponed after the visitors objected to the state of the pitch © Getty Images

Premier Rugby has revealed that the idea of switching to artificial pitches was discussed at a meeting with Guinness Premiership club owners and major shareholders last week.

After a season in which London Wasps refused to fulfill a league fixture at Sale Sharks' Edgeley Park because of their concerns over the state of the surface, Premier Rugby chief executive Mark McCafferty has admitted that a move away from grass pitches is a very distinct possibility.

"We will be taking a hard look at pitches over the summer," he told the Sunday Telegraph.

"Notwithstanding the fact that it was a particularly hard winter, some of the pitches were not acceptable. Our understanding is that Fifa and the International Rugby Board are working closely to see if the new generation artificial pitches can accommodate both rugby and football.

"We want to ensure consistent surfaces in the hope that they will lead to higher quality games. I don't see it in place for next season but it could happen later. The quality of the product is crucial to us."

A top flight game has never before been played on an artificial surface but McCafferty explained that the proposed switch was just one idea being put forward as part of a five-year strategy to boost the profile of the English game ahead of the 2015 World Cup.


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