Could 4G be the future for 3G pitches?

a 3g pitch and its markings

It’s been a long time since the first creation of modern 2G and 3G pitches, with many clubs feeling the benefits of artificial turf thereafter. Football, cricket, tennis, rugby and hockey are just some of many sports that have adopted these generations of pitch surfaces, and it’s easy to see why. Many schools and professional clubs are experiencing the advantages of 2G and 3G pitch installations, namely being able to play sports with ease all year round.

Depending on the requirements for sports clubs or schools, there are a multitude of options when it comes to the type of pitch they choose. Sports clubs have options including:

  • 2G pitches are designed to have a shorter pile, are infilled with sand and mostly benefit hockey sports play
  • 3G pitch installations slightly differ in their development, as this surface adopts sand and rubber infill. These pitches are typically used for playing football as the longer pile is ideal for mimicking lengthier grass found on a natural grass football field

But what about the future of 3G pitches? Is the development of 4G surface technology soon around the corner or do 4G pitches exist already?

4G pitches and the future for synthetic turf 

Based on the already existing astroturf options for sports, there has been much speculation surrounding the term ‘4G pitch’. Currently, there are already newer options stemming from 2G and 3G ideas, which includes a mixture of the two pile types. This pitch endorses a short pile on the bottom with a long pile sewn through, mitigating the need for any infill. As such, this artificial grass hasn’t taken off just yet, due to higher expense and supposedly a lack of playing characteristics to pass FIFA requirements in this instance.

4G pitches don’t technically exist (yet) in the eyes of governing bodies such as FIFA, though the term is often coined for marketing purposes by many pitch contractors. This can be a bit confusing for sports clubs and schools alike who are looking to invest in state of the art artificial turf, and may stumble across 4G pitch installation options.

Professional contractors understand that governing bodies need to approve any new generation of sports pitch, but that doesn’t mean 4G design won’t ever be acknowledged. So, where do we draw the line?

Does the FIFA quality programme dictate artificial turf?

FIFA quality logo for pitches

The FIFA quality programme was devised to ensure that synthetic pitches are of a good standard for playing on. To check for this, the quality assurance testing phases include:

  • How the player and surface interact
  • How the ball and the surface interact
  • The grass’ weather resistance
  • The length of the pile
  • The length of the grass’ life
  • And its constitution

To be widely recognised and approved as a legitimate sports pitch, any new synthetic turf needs to fulfil the above requirements. Consequently, a picture starts to form as to why 4G pitches aren’t widely considered. No matter the claims about 4G products, there just isn’t enough evidence yet.

Is 4G pitch installation the future?

Keeping the above in mind, it could be claimed 4G technology exists already but until any form of approval from FIFA, SAPCA, the FA and the Rugby Union to name a few, it currently doesn’t. As already mentioned above, there have been technological developments in synthetic surfaces, with different turf piles available which can have advantages to playing performance. However, depending on the needs of clubs or schools, they may find more benefits with the current standards and advantages of 3G or 2G pitches.

What benefits come with 3G pitch installation?

3G pitch construction at night time

There are plenty of benefits that come with 3G pitches, making it the most popular choice for play time.

Clubs or schools with a football pitch can experience:

  1. An all year round playing surface, no matter the weather conditions
  2. Environmentally friendly benefits, such as saving water
  3. Frequent use and reduces the risk to players on field
  4. Reduced maintenance, saving time and money
  5. Professional and attractive appearance, as it looks and feels like real grass
  6. Recognition from governing bodies such as FIFA
  7. A pitch made to specific requirements

If you’d like to know more about how synthetic grass pitches can be integrated with the grounds of your club or school, please get in touch with us today to discuss your choices.

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