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Football League will not vote on 3G pitches this summer, says Maidstone United co-owner Oliver Ash

By Craig Tucker

Maidstone co-owner Oliver Ash says there will be no Football League vote on 3G pitches this summer.

A vote had been expected at the annual meeting in June with a view to allowing 3G in League 1 and 2 from the 2019-20 season.

But it appears there is not enough support to warrant a vote with Ash saying the 3G campaign is "bouncing off a brick wall at the moment".

Maidstone United co-owner Oliver Ash
Maidstone United co-owner Oliver Ash

In his latest blog, Ash says the FA have "shown no willingness or ability to persuade or demand that the EFL change their stance".

The PFA remain concerned about the injury risk and as a result the League Managers' Association won't back it either.

Ash said: "The majority of EFL clubs, many of which, in respect of 3G, seem to be either self-interested or ignorant of the facts or both, are reticent to commit to voting for 3G, even in League 2 let alone League 1.

"League 2 clubs are divided on the issue right now and as a result there will be no vote of clubs at the EFL AGM.

"The FA have shown no willingness or ability to persuade or demand that the EFL change their stance.

"The PFA is still concerned about injuries and players being reluctant to play on 3G and argue, cunningly, that there is no long-term evidence that 3G does not cause long-term injury.

"Indeed the many medical studies undertaken all show no significant injury difference between playing on natural grass and 3G.

"However, the studies date back no further than 15 years and technology has moved on so if you wanted to split hairs you could insist that any medical tests should analyse only the very latest 3G football turf used at top level since, say, 2012.

"The League Managers’ Association are equally reactionary and say they don’t like 3G as the managers can’t live with players not wanting to play on it…so nothing is changing, or at least not quickly enough."

The fight goes on although it seems inevitable Sutton will have to take up their 3G pitch and replace it with grass should they win promotion.

They're second in the National League and looking good for at least a play-off spot but, under current rules, would be relegated to National South if they refuse to play ball.

Ash said: "Well, I hear you say, does this not suggest you should drop the whole thing and accept the status quo? Absolutely not.

"This anti-3G prejudice is simply wrong and not in the interests of football as a whole, let alone those of Sutton United, who are closest to having any title or play-off victory celebrations cut short by the realisation that they’ve just put the future of their club in jeopardy by winning promotion. This is insane."

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