Premiership clubs vote to ban artificial pitches from league games

The SPFL is allowing a two-year period to phase out artificial surfaces.

Premiership clubs vote to ban artificial pitches from top flight league games SNS Group

Premiership clubs have voted to ban artificial pitches from top-flight games, with a two-year period allowed to phase out the controversial surfaces.

Following Livingston’s relegation, Kilmarnock are now the only club with a plastic playing surface in the division, and they have already announced plans to return to a grass pitch at the end of next season.

That Rugby Park pitch is now set to be the last in the top flight after clubs voted to play top flight fixtures exclusively on grass.

A statement read: “Premiership clubs have voted in favour of phasing out the use of artificial pitches in the SPFL top flight.

“Clubs in the Premiership had brought forward a resolution seeking to phase out artificial pitches in Scotland’s top division, which was issued to all Premiership clubs.

“The SPFL can confirm that the resolution has now passed.

“The SPFL Board has granted a two-year period to allow clubs with an artificial pitch to plan for the phasing out of artificial pitches in the top tier of Scottish football.

“This period of grace is in line with recommendations of the SPFL Competitions Working Group, which represents member clubs across the SPFL.

“The SPFL Board recently approved plans for a Premiership-wide project to work with a leading pitch consultancy firm, which is regularly used by UEFA, to improve the standards of grass pitches in the cinch Premiership. The SPFL will be engaging with Premiership clubs on this project ahead of the new season.”

A group of clubs from further down the SPFL league structure was critical of the proposal, saying it was ill-advised and that their counter-proposal had been ignored.

Raith Rovers, Hamilton Accies, Falkirk and Queen of the South want a public debate on the subject and said that the decision to allow a vote was “poorly thought through”.

They said it was “unacceptable” that a small number of the 42 SPFL teams get to decide, with only the 12 Premiership clubs voted and only nine needing to be in favour to carry the plan forward.

A joint statement from the four clubs read: “In response to the proposal to ban artificial playing surfaces in the Scottish Premiership, over the past few months we have sought constructive dialogue with both the SPFL Competitions Working Group (CWG) and directly with Scottish Premiership clubs.  

“We have done so because we believe the proposal to be fundamentally flawed on a number of levels and, if approved, will cause significant long-term damage to Scottish football by undermining sporting integrity, impacting the wider game and creating huge financial entry barriers to the top league. 

“We unreservedly support the Premiership clubs desire to ensure that playing surfaces are always of a high quality, so worked together to create what we believe to be a constructive and well-considered alternative proposal, which we are publishing today.  

“We recently had the opportunity to present our ideas to both the Competitions Working Group and those Premiership clubs not involved in the CWG, and we thank them for taking the time to listen to us.  

“We are, however, disappointed to learn that the Premiership clubs intend to proceed to a vote on a blanket ban of artificial surfaces from season 2026/27, and that none of the elements of our alternative proposal have been adopted or incorporated into their final proposal.  

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code