Dutch football captains call for ban on artificial turf


The captain of 12 Dutch football teams in the Eredivisie want artificial turf to be banned for matches in the highest football league in the country. Davy Klaasen of Ajax, Luuk de Jong of PSV and Dirk Kuyt until recently of Feyenoord, among others, signed a manifesto drawn up by players union VVCS. The manifesto demands that the license requirements for the Eredivisie include a requirement for real grass, such as the requirement for the quality of lighting, RTL Nieuws reports.

"I'm sure that with artificial turf, Dutch football will deteriorate even further", Kuyt said. Klaassen said: "Such fields will make you seriously think about leaving the Netherlands." Other complaints include the large number of injuries on artificial turf and competition distortion. 

Some point to the Feyenoord vs Excelsior match a week and a half ago. Feyenoord shockingly lost 3-0 to Excelsior while playing on Excelsior's artificial turf field. The artificial turf combined with nerves were the main reason for Feyenoord's near miss on the national title, according to the broadcaster. Earlier this week Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jørgensen, the top scorer in the league this season, said: "That terrible artificial turf of yours. It's all plastic shit. What's that about at the highest level?"

The manifesto was not signed by the six Eredivisie clubs that play on artificial turf - Excelsior, PEC Zwolle, Cambuur, ADO Den Haag, Roda JC and Heracles. In the Jupiler League almost all clubs play on artificial turf. This means that the majority of the professional clubs in the Netherlands don't play on real grass. 

Artificial turf also caused a commotion late last year when concerns were raised that the rubber granules used in turf may contain carcinogenic substances.