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The Non-League Football Paper

Paul Doswell: The Football League must embrace the future of 3G pitches

SUTTON UNITED manager Paul Doswell is demanding the introduction of 3G pitches in the Football League returns to the agenda as quickly as possible.

The Us boss predicts clubs could face financial ruin unless the pressure is again applied to the EFL to get on board.

As it stands, plastic pitches cannot be used above the National League and with Bromley currently in the process of digging up their grass, it presents a growing problem.

Sutton and Maidstone United already play on 3G and there is a growing call for the Football League to embrace it.

Doswell says what’s good for the World Cup and the Champions League final should be good in the lower reaches of English professional football. But currently the EFL’s lack of acceptance causes a problem.

Should either of those three clubs want to compete in the play-offs, then they must sign an agreement to remove their plastic pitch and relay turf should they go up – and that comes with a big cost.

Although not confirmed, Maidstone United’s co-owner Oliver Ash is on the record as claiming that if any clubs who play on artificial pitches refuse to replace their surface they face instant relegation if they go up. T

he National League, who have not responded to that suggestion, have always maintained their stance that they want 3G to be allowed in the EFL as soon as possible. But despite this, there has been no movement. Doswell says the silence is deafening.

The Sutton boss told The NLP: “It’s worrying how quiet the subject has gone. We hold a strong opinion that 3G in the Football League needs to happen, and it needs to get back on the National League’s agenda very soon. It doesn’t seem to be at the moment, and now that three of the member clubs are playing on it, plus a large number in the National League North and South, then it really must be.

“That is not either us, Bromley or Maidstone suggesting we’re going to win promotion next season, but we’re entitled to dream.

“Should we make the play-offs – and let’s not forget it’s not always the full-time clubs that achieve that when you look at Dover and Braintree last season – then as it stands we have to undo all our hard work.”

Doswell says the overall cost of taking promotion could hit £1m.

“It would cost between £300,000 and £400,000 to take up our 3G pitch and put down grass and it would destroy our community,” he added.

“Don’t forget the huge cost of laying the pitch originally too and you are looking at an overall massive figure. It would put us into a financial mess.

“All we’re asking for is that pressure is applied like we were told it would be. The subject needs to be back on the agenda as soon as possible as it could destroy a lot of the hard work we’ve done in our community.”

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