PA Sport

Stephen McManus backs PFA Scotland artificial pitch concerns

Stephen McManus backs PFA Scotland artificial pitch concerns
By PA Sport

11/02/2016 at 18:13

Motherwell defender Stephen McManus insists it should be the players who are listened to when deciding if more plastic pitches are installed in Scottish grounds - and not the money men running clubs.

Motherwell defender Stephen McManus insists it should be the players who are listened to when deciding if more plastic pitches are installed in Scottish grounds - and not the money men running clubs.

The former Scotland international is a firm opponent of the artificial surfaces used by the likes of Hamilton and Kilmarnock.

And he gave his backing to PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart, who has called for players to have greater say after going public with the results of a damning survey into the matter.

Twelve of the SPFL's 42 clubs have 3G pitches installed but, according to the union's survey of 700 players, 73 per cent of professionals would rather play on a deteriorating grass surface than artificial turf.

McManus said: "They are not for me in the slightest. Myself and Keith Lasley take our under-17s here and we train on it, so to develop kids I think they are great.

"But in the professional game, they are not for me. I don't think it should happen.

"Anybody who can come out and say that it is a positive are only saying that because of financial restrictions on the club, which I totally understand.

"If you go to Hamilton for example, I guarantee you that every night they will have somebody like their academy players training on it, because it saves them money.

"But I don't think Scottish football professionally should be played on it. That's just my opinion.

"Does it take you longer to recover after playing on an astro? At 33, 100 per cent, trust me.

"I feel the effects of it when I play on one on a Saturday for a few days after it in comparison to grass.

"If you ask players, and they are the ones who need to be listened to because they are the ones playing on it week in, week out, it should be grass.

"But the grass has to be good enough as well and that is perhaps behind the reason for more astros being installed, because they haven't been."

Rangers boss Mark Warburton agrees that more studies need to be done on the impact of playing on artificial turf.

Speaking ahead of three consecutive games on plastic pitches, at Alloa, Kilmarnock and Queen of the South, Warburton said: "I thought the comments were very sensible by the PFA. We don't have enough evidence as to the long-term impact on players in terms of their joints and injuries.

"Of course you get superficial ones. We had Rob Kiernan and Danny Wilson missing a few days training with deep cuts and lacerations to their legs.

"But it's the long-term impact and the wear and tear on players who are training daily on artificial pitches and playing competitive games.

"I understand the financial implications, I get that fully, but we have to look at the wear and tear and to promote more artificial surfaces I think is a wrong move."

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