MAIDSTONE UNITED face paying out to replace their 3G pitch ahead of schedule after heavy use reduced the surface’s lifespan.
The Stones moved into their new Gallagher Stadium home in 2012 and have enjoyed great success since returning to the town.
However, owner Oliver Ash has warned they will most likely have to replace their synthetic playing surface earlier than anticipated.
The Stones were led to believe their £500,000 3G pitch would last around eight years but Ash thinks a new surface will be needed by 2017 – five years after it was laid.
The club’s ‘Dynamic’ surface is placed on a stone/shingle base with some similar pitches suffering movement after heavy use.
The FA are encouraging clubs who want to move to a 3G surface to look at newer types of technology and Ash said: “In 2011 we were being told by manufacturers that for a FIFA 2 Star quality pitch eight years was a reasonable time to expect, as long as maintenance was up to scratch.
“Now the same people are saying ‘mmm, well, maybe you will only get four or five years out of the pitch if you want to use it in a reasonably intensive way (50 hours a week) and keep the FIFA 2 Star standard’.
“And of course the whole business model depends on clubs being able to use their pitches reasonably often.
“This is deeply disappointing. Clubs using 3G pitches at 2 Star standard (like Maidstone!) will be dismayed to find they need to budget for replacement after five years and not nine. It doesn’t kill the model but it hurts it.”