The Wales v Andorra game has sent a shock wave through the artificial turf industry. How could such a pitch be used for an international game? How did it pass the stringent tests required by FIFA? Who sanctioned the use of the pitch? The fact is the pitch is brand new apparently only 6 days old? In reality there is nothing wrong with this but it is a fact that 3G pitches do settle with use and time so maybe the fact the pitch was just laid did not help it perform to the best possible standard. who decided on the programme for the installation! Surely a degree of anticipation could have allowed for a settling in period this is normally almost mandatory! The pitch was also tested to the FIFA standard something which was clearly carried out very close to the game. The Laboratory must have assessed the performance of the pitch against the FIFA requirements otherwise FIFA would not have certified the pitch for use. This is the process, which allows UEFA to use the surface for games. The decision to go ahead with the game therefore was based on sound scientific evidence. In fairness you cannot blame UEFA as they have applied the rules. The referee has a role to play here also so did he have an opinion?
Andorra unfortunately could not offer up an alternate venue, this being their only complaint pitch which UEFA could make use of. So the noises before the match about the condition of the pitch would have little impact on the decision to use this surface. The Federation would not want to go offshore for the game.
The main criticisms we have been able to glean from the various comments made are; the ball roll was too long, the pitch was hard and the rubber infill was everywhere! The ball was bobbling so perhaps uneven fill? These key performance parameters are measured and assessed by the Laboratory testing the pitch? So something has gone wrong somewhere?
This issue could damage the artificial turf industry massively and with the women's world cup campaign attempting to create a groundswell of opinion to derail the decision to use artificial turf we could see a move to block the use of artificial turf at the top flight of the game again.
There needs to be a review of what has happened here and a strategy adopted to make sure negative comments like those see in the press don't happen.
For more information on the game see the links below;