Artificial Surface Vote – Lobbying

May 28, 2024

As has been previously mentioned, the FSS Committee is increasingly aware of an imminent vote, exclusive to SPFL Premiership clubs, to ban artificial surfaces from the top flight. The FSS released a statement on 20 March outlining our concerns regarding this vote which can be viewed HERE. The Club recently published a joint consultation paper with other lower league clubs which outlined their concerns and put forward an alternative proposal which would ensure that all surfaces complied to a high minimum standard. This had previously been shared with representatives from all SPFL Premiership clubs and can be viewed HERE.

It appears that the proposals outlined in the report have not been taken forward by the SPFL Premiership clubs and that it is their intention to push forward with a blanket yes/no vote on banning artificial surfaces.

The FSS Committee has started a process of lobbying those who may be willing to back the reasonable proposals outlined in the lower league club’s paper, and make representations to the SPFL Premiership clubs. We believe that this requires greater numbers to make a difference and now ask that each individual fan who backs the joint club proposals send the following email to their Local and National Government representatives. For Falkirk residents we would recommend the following recipients:

Please use the below template

EMAIL SUBJECT LINE: RE: Potential ban of artificial surfaces in the Scottish Premiership

Dear NAME OF MSP/COUNCILLOR/TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN,

Purpose of writing

I am writing to raise concerns about the potential ban of artificial surfaces in the Scottish Premiership. There is a proposed vote taking place in the coming weeks. It is understood that this vote will only be open to current Premiership clubs with the vote being for a blanket ban of artificial surfaces from season 2026/27.

Facts of the case

I would like to draw your attention to this joint statement provided by several clubs who presently have artificial surfaces (Falkirk, Raith Rovers, Queen of the South and Hamilton Academical), and especially to the detailed position paper which sets out a series of arguments and recommendations to allow artificial surfaces to continue to be used. The joint statement is here: https://www.falkirkfc.co.uk/2024/05/22/spfl-proposal-to-ban-artificial-pitches-in-the-scottish-premiership/; the consultation paper is here (created by the four aforementioned clubs alongside Airdrieonians and Cove Rangers) https://www.falkirkfc.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Artificial-surfaces-A-consultation-paper-for-the-SPFL-board.pdf.

Key points: Artificial surfaces are permitted at the very pinnacle of the game, being used in Champions League fixtures. There is therefore no good argument for banning them with regards to quality. Banning artificial surfaces would have a deleterious effect on sporting integrity and, most importantly, have a devastating impact on various clubs’ capacity to act as a sustainable community hub, providing a basis for boys, girls and women’s football to thrive.

Request

I would like to request:

  1. Public support of the consultation paper and to advocate that a ban on artificial pitches should not be permitted.
  2. That this issue is raised with appropriate senior ministers with the request to support the consultation paper and to advocate that a ban on artificial pitches should not be permitted.
  3. Raising the issue directly with the SPFL, the Scottish football governing body, to advocate that the consultation paper’s recommendations be accepted and a ban on artificial pitches should not be permitted.

Yours Sincerely,

YOUR FULL NAME:

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