THE RAIN IN SPAIN FALLS MAINLY ON THE… ASTROTURF?!

Commentary from The BRISTOLIAN‘s Football Correspondent…

While politicians and many fans cling to the belief that stadiums on the greenbelt for pros are the key to success, a GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL CRISIS unfolds before them.

Over the last two months, virtually no competitive youth football took place in the city. Poorly maintained pitches with poor drainage were waterlogged after heavy rain.

Our man not on the touchline but inside playing PlayStation with the kids says, “if a child missed eight weeks of school, they’d fall behind. WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT FOOTBALL?

Young people have sussed this. An under-14 at Rockleaze Rangers FC, told The Guardian recently about Spain’s youth, who rarely play on grass, so “learn from a young age to play well”.

He’s right. A grass pitch can hold three games a week. Artificial pitches can host 60 teams for training plus matches and they’re usually floodlit for play at night.

The technically extravagant and tactically sophisticated Spaniards will be competing for a fourth consecutive major title in Brazil this summer.

Meanwhile, England has not won a trophy for 48 years.

So, what’s your stance on grass versus artificial surfaces? Is astroturf the thin edge of a privatising wedge that will rob us of our last open, free-to-all green spaces, as happened at Packer’s Field? Let us know!

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