Artificial Turf Football Pitches

S&C Slatter are experts in the design, construction and maintenance of artificial turf football pitches. We have built over 150 synthetic football pitches for clients including Everton FC, Queen Ethelburga's Collegiate and Elmbridge Xcel Sports Hub.

We are the leading constructor of non-league artificial pitches and, through our exclusive partnership with world-leading artificial sports turf manufacturer FieldTurf, are approved suppliers to the Football Foundation AGP Framework, run in partnership with The FA, Premier League and Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Read on to learn more about our outstanding all weather football pitches or contact us to discuss your project.

Artificial turf football pitch construction

Whether it be a full-sized 3G stadium pitch to FIFA Quality Pro and FA National Ground Grading standard, a 3G 5-a-side complex, or a compact sand-dressed multi-use games area (MUGA) for 5-a-side football and other sports, we work with you based on your needs, limitations and requirements.

S&C Slatter, partnered with FieldTurf, are one of a few select suppliers to the Football Foundation Framework, run in partnership with The FA, Premier League and Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Through our exclusive partnership with FieldTurf, one of the world’s leading artificial sports turf manufacturers who are a FIFA Preferred Producer, we have constructed numerous FIFA Quality Pro and FIFA Quality artificial grass pitches, for the likes of Queen’s Park Rangers, Sutton United and Swindon Town FC.

With 30 years’ experience in artificial football pitch construction, we are always keen to discuss new projects and happy to offer a free initial consultation.

Call or email for an informal chat about your new football pitch.

Artificial turf football pitch refurbishment


As well as the construction of new build facilities, S&C Slatter frequently undertake pitch refurbishment for clients whose artificial football pitch has come to the end of its useful life. Refurbishment is less costly than a new build, with most of the infrastructure already in place, and generally consists of the removal and upgrade of the artificial turf system and shockpad on the pitch.

Prior to the need for refurbishment, our dedicated maintenance division experts are on hand to maximise the lifespan, quality and performance of your pitch. Whether it be routine maintenance to comply with manufacturer warranty, or a deep clean designed to extend the lifespan of your pitch, our team will help you get the most from your artificial football pitch.

How to build an artificial turf football pitch

There are nine key stages in the construction of an artificial football pitch – it’s not just about the playing surface (often referred to as ‘carpet’!). Football pitch construction stages include:

1. Design and planning
Designing the facility, obtaining planning permission, creating technical drawings and specifications ready for construction.

2. Environmental considerations
This can include management of water run-off and drainage, mitigating the impact of the new facility and considering overspill from floodlighting.

3. Health and safety
Creating a safe and thoroughly planned construction site that employs best practice and meets all legislative requirements.

4. Earthworks
Properly prepared foundations are crucial to the performance of any football pitch.

5. Drainage
Appropriate drainage systems ensure that whatever the weather, the artificial football pitch doesn’t become waterlogged.

6. Sub-base and base
Carefully chosen materials support the chosen artificial turf system and free drainage of the pitch.

7. Shockpad
Depending on your artificial turf system, a shockpad may be employed to meet safety requirements and enhance performance standards.

8. Artificial turf system
This is the part of the pitch you actually see – the artificial grass itself, often referred to as the ‘carpet’ on a football pitch, combined with sand and performance infill.

9. Ancillary equipment
This includes additional requirements for an approved football pitch, such as appropriate fencing, floodlighting and goalposts – as well as project specific requirements such as team shelters, pavilions and car parks.

 

More detailed information can be found on our main Artificial Turf Pitches page.

What is an artificial turf football pitch?

Artificial turf football pitches are football pitches made without the use of natural turf. Commonly referred to as astro turf and synthetic turf, these pitches are constructed from technologically advanced synthetic fibres.

These synthetic fibres (resembling blades of grass) are tufted in a similar method to that used in making carpets, which is why synthetic playing surfaces are often referred to as ‘carpet’.

Artificial pitches use sand and SBR (rubber) or other performance infill to replicate the bounce and performance of natural grass pitches while protecting the artificial grass fibres.

Whether you’ve heard the phrase 3G, 4G, synthetic or astro turf, they all refer to the same thing: artificial turf.

The base and infill on pitches may vary, and the pile (grass) length is usually between 40-60mm depending on the sporting application.

 

Get in touch with our team to discuss your football pitch construction project.

What’s the difference between a 2G, 3G and 4G football pitch?


You may have heard artificial football pitches referred to as ‘2G’ or ‘3G’, perhaps even ‘4G’, ‘5G’ or beyond, so what’s the difference?

The ‘G’ in this case refers to the generation of technology.

2G or 2nd Generation pitches

Second generation pitches use a short pile height (the length of the artificial grass) combined with a sand infill, making them perfect for hockey pitches and multi-use games areas .

3G or 3rd generation pitches

Third generation pitches utilise both rubber crumb and sand infill, and have a longer pile height, usually between 40-60mm. Third generation technology is approved for use by FIFA.

4G Pitches and beyond

There are new technologies emerging, which rely on the use of artificial turf without the need for rubber crumb infill – these are commonly referred to as 4G or 5G pitches. However, the lack of infill means that these pitches are yet to pass the safety and performance tests laid out by FIFA and cannot achieve FIFA Quality or FIFA Quality Pro certification.

So, the key difference between 2G, 3G and 4G artificial turf is that 3G football pitches are the only technology approved for use by FIFA and other football governing bodies.

Whilst 4G football pitch technology exists, it is still in the very early stages of development and is yet to be accredited or adopted by any major sporting body. If you’re looking to build a pitch to FIFA Quality Pro or FIFA Quality standards, you’ll need to construct a 3G Artificial Turf Pitch – so beware any organisation claiming to construct approved 4G football pitches.

How much does it cost to build a 3G football pitch?


The average cost for a brand new, full sized, 3G artificial grass pitch (AGP) for football is around £650,000. However, overall, artificial football pitches can cost anywhere between £300,000 and £900,000 depending on a number of factors.

These factors include:

  • The overall size of the pitch

  • Scope of groundworks required

  • Chosen base, sub-base and shock pad

  • Chosen artificial turf system based on needs and standards (e.g. FIFA Quality or FIFA Quality Pro performance standard)

  • Environmental mitigation methods

  • Floodlighting, fencing and equipment requirements


Beyond the construction of the pitch itself, additional work is required in the form of ancillary equipment (team shelters, pavilions, spectator areas) and civil engineering (access pathways, hard standings, roadways and car parks), so this may need to be factored into your costs.

The cost for synthetic football pitch resurfacing is significantly lower, usually between £150,000 - £250,000 due to much of the infrastructure (foundations, floodlighting, civil engineering) often already being in place.

Please get in touch if you’d like an example of a detailed breakdown of project costs, or a quote on the cost of building a 3G football pitch based on your requirements.

3G AGP Constructed at QPR Academy

How long does it take to build a 3G Pitch?

As with any construction project, the longest part of the process will often be taking the project through the design and planning stage.

Once planning is granted and the construction programme agreed, the typical length of time on-site to construct a new artificial football pitch is generally 12-14 weeks, with football pitch resurfacing in the region of 6-8 weeks.

 

 

What funding is available for a 3G Football pitch?


Beyond funding the construction of an artificial pitch privately or through capital expenditure, there are a number of funding options available to football clubs and schools.

If you are a club or organisation that benefits your local community, you may be able to apply for grants from your local or regional council. These can vary in size and you may wish to support these with community fundraising efforts. Refer to your local council page for more information on what may be available in your area.

We are also official suppliers, with our partners FieldTurf, to the Football Foundation AGP Framework, set up by The FA, Premier League and Department of Culture, Media and Sport to help communities to improve their football facilities through football grants.

If grants aren’t suitable for your needs, private funding options may be preferable, such as operating leases, which you can find out more about on our funding page, or by checking out our recent work with the John Madejski Academy, who utilised an operating lease to fund their 3G artificial turf pitch, offsetting the cost with pitch hire.

Paul Doswell, the longest serving manager in English football’s top five divisions, knows only too well what benefits a 3G Artificial Turf Pitch can bring. Paul specified an S&C Slatter pitch for Sutton United and, based on his experience and the clubs success, asked S&C Slatter build a new 3G pitch at his current club Havant and Waterlooville.

See how clubs are reaping the rewards from their 3G Stadia Pitches.

What are the benefits of an artificial turf football pitch over a natural turf football pitch?

Whilst designed to look like top quality natural grass, artificial turf provides greater durability than natural turf. This makes them ideal for use across the sporting, education and leisure sectors, to ensure safe and consistent play – unhampered by weather or limited playing hours.

The key benefits over natural turf are usability, safety and performance.

 

Usability

The typical hours of usage for a natural turf pitch vary between 2-6 hours of adult use per week, depending on the maintenance, management and drainage of the pitch.

By comparison, an artificial grass pitch be used between 60-80 hours of adult use per week, so if you’re looking to hire your facilities out, it’s clear to see which pitch type will generate more revenue.

It’s also worth noting that for natural turf pitches, the estimated hourly usage may be impacted by the weather. Artificial turf pitches can be constructed indoors or outdoors – they don’t require that elusive sunshine for maintenance or playability.

 

Safety

Those of us who have played or watched football know all too well that British weather can be unforgiving. During a spell of heavy rainfall or freezing weather, natural turf pitches can become unfit for play, leading to matches being called off.

Artificial turf pitches are designed to be free draining to prevent waterlogging – this is why artificial pitches are often referred to as all-weather football pitches!

It’s not only about the weather though. Laser-guided base and shock pad installation provides consistency of surface across the field, ensuring that wherever a tumble, tackle or foul takes place, players are appropriately protected.

 

Performance

This same consistency of surface provides a reliable and long-lasting performance standard. Where lumps, bumps and holes can quickly occur after heavy use on poorly maintained natural grass pitches, artificial grass football pitches retain performance standards with hundreds of hours of use.

 

How long does a 3G Pitch last for?

An artificial turf football pitch generally has a lifespan of around 10 years, though this will vary based on how well the pitch has been constructed, the weekly hours of usage and how well the pitch has been maintained.

 

How do you maintain a 3G Football Surface?

3G Football Pitch Maintenance is crucial for maximising the lifespan of the pitch, whilst ensuring optimum playability and safety.

Although artificial grass doesn’t need cutting or watering like natural turf pitches, regular maintenance is still required, based on factors like hours of use.

Maintenance can include regular brushing, decompaction, managing infill levels and moss/weed removal. Improper pitch maintenance can lead to issues with drainage and safety, as well as void any manufacturer warranty you may have.

Find out more about the types of maintenance 3G surfaces require or call our dedicated in-house maintenance division to discuss your needs.

Are artificial Football Pitches FA/FIFA Approved?

Only third generation (3G) artificial grass pitches are currently accepted by The FA and FIFA.

Once your 3G Pitch is complete, it will require testing to earn FIFA Quality Pro or FIFA Quality certifications, or to be added to the FA's 3G Pitch Register.

We provide clients with a choice of independent third-party testing organisations who are able to carry out these tests and can incorporate this into the cost of the pitch.

The cost of testing is usually between £2000 – £2500.

 Are artificial football pitches allowed in the football league?


Artificial football pitches are not permitted for match play in the Premier League, or National League steps 1-4. However they are permitted for training at these levels, and are commonly used in the Premier League for this purpose, examples being Everton United and Queen's Park Rangers.

3G Pitches are allowed for match play in all other levels of men's English football, in all rounds of the FA Cup, all levels of Women's football,  all levels of the Scottish Professional Football League, and all levels of the Welsh Premier League.

3G Pitches are becoming increasingly popular at all levels of match play and training, where the usage and durability allows teams to train and play on their pitches, as well as generating additional revenue for their clubs through hire.

We're proud to be the leading supplier to non-league football clubs, view our football pitch construction case studies.

Are synthetic football pitches bad for the environment?

Sometimes referred to as ‘plastic pitches’ it’s easy to see why concerns have been raised about the use of artificial turf.

It’s useful however to consider a multitude of factors when it comes to artificial pitches, for example they improve access to sport for those living in areas with poor weather, improving health and wellbeing. The amount of usage artificial pitches can achieve also helps organisations to generate revenue through pitch hire, far more than can be achieved with the limitations of natural turf.

Artificial pitches even have some positive impacts on the environment, for for example they don’t require the large amounts of water that natural turf pitches take to maintain. US research showed that each full-sized artificial football field saves between 1.8 – 3.7 million litres of water each year compared to a natural turf field of the same size.

We’re consistently championing environmental innovation and mitigation methods for the artificial turf industry. We offer environmental mitigation methods to clients in line with the recommendations made by environmental charity Fidra.

Are 3G Pitches safe?


Gone are the days of ‘pitch burn’ from early artificial pitches. 3G Pitches provide a level playing surface, with long pile grass, infill and shock pads providing a safe playing surface as recognised by sporting bodies such as the FA, FIFA and RFU.

A statement issued by The FA in 2017 states that “Third generation or 3G artificial grass pitches are recognised as durable, safe, year-round playing surfaces”.

As well as providing a consistent, reliable playing surface, the year-round element is key, with artificial turf pitches safe to play in weather that may lead to cancellations on natural turf pitches.

3G Football Pitches constructed by S&C Slatter

S&C Slatter, through our partnership with FieldTurf, are one of a few select suppliers to the Football Foundation AGP Framework, run in partnership with The FA, Premier League and Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Our artificial turf partners FieldTurf are a FIFA Preferred Producer, and together we have constructed numerous FIFA Quality Pro and FIFA Quality artificial grass pitches, for the likes of Queen’s Park Rangers, Everton, Ringmer AFC and Sutton United.

If you have any further questions on 3G football pitches, or would like to discuss your project, please get in touch.

For more information call 01635 34521 or email enquiries@slattersportsconstruction.com