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Ebbsfleet United vice-chairman Peter Varney critical of 3G pitches

Peter Varney says 3G pitches encourage a more direct style of play and doesn't want them in the Football League.

The Ebbsfleet vice-chairman wrote at length about the subject in his programme notes ahead of Saturday's home game against Guiseley.

Three of Fleet's rivals in the National League play on artificial surfaces and have all started the season well.

Peter Varney Picture: Andy Payton
Peter Varney Picture: Andy Payton

Mr Varney said: "There is a meeting on Monday with the chairman and CEO of the National League at which the issue of artificial pitches will once again raise its head.

"At the start of the season Bromley, Maidstone United and Sutton United all gave undertakings that if they were to secure promotion to League 2 this season they would rip up their plastic pitches and lay new grass pitches.

"The fact that all three clubs are now in the top 10 (Maidstone dropped to 11th on Saturday) has led to calls by all three to the EFL to amend their rules, scrap the undertakings given at the beginning of the season and allow teams with artificial pitches to be promoted.

"If any of the clubs were to be promoted to League 2 and refused to lay a new grass pitch they would be automatically relegated to National League South. This was done to avoid clubs giving meaningless commitments.

"I have made my personal views known on artificial pitches on many occasions.

"I accept the commercial arguments are valid in that they provide income streams that can sustain clubs. The football arguments in my view outweigh that in the wider interests of the game we all love.

"When we played at Sutton a few weeks ago the high bounce of the ball worked against a team like us that likes to get the ball on the floor and play. It encourages a more direct and less attractive style of play.

"It also seems to me that the surfaces can vary greatly depending on the sum spent and players talk openly about how some of the surfaces are inconsistent in terms of the underlying sub-structures and surfaces.

"Those who support artificial pitches will point to their use in Scotland and in European competition but some of the surfaces I have seen on TV are much closer to grass and the ball runs truer than those I have seen at our level.

"In my view football will always be a game to be played on grass but if one day they can produce pitches which effectively mirror grass pitches at our level then I might be persuaded but I doubt it."

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