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Tuesday 13 Feb 2024
Irish FA responds to EU ban on 3G pitch microplastics infill

The Irish Football Association has promised to support it's member clubs as a European Union ban transition period has come into effect on the use of microplastic rubber crumb infills in artificial grass pitches

The EU has adopted a comprehensive ban on the sale of “intentionally added microplastics” including rubber granular infill in synthetic football pitches. 

The ban refers to intentionally added microplastic infill and will have an eight-year transition period, coming into force from September 2031. 

The Irish FA has produced a detailed statement outlining how the ban will affect football clubs and other bodies which host football on artificial grass pitches (AGPs).

The statement says: “It should be noted that the ban is only for the sale of polymeric infill materials. The ruling does not prevent the continued use of this material for AGPs, nor does it prevent the construction of new pitches with rubber crumb infill before 2031, but it may make the maintenance of these pitches after this time difficult.” 

“The eight-year transition period is important because it allows the 3G AGPs that are in widespread use by communities across Europe to continue to be used and maintained until they reach their end-of-life.” 

The statement also covers the use of alternative infill materials, the need for more information and research into the durability of organic infill products, containment measures to prevent the migration of microplastics into drainage systems and water courses as well as the potential of fibre debris to be considered as an environmental pollutant. 

It further points out: “The Irish FA remains committed to supporting its member clubs through the transition period and to opening dialogue with 3G AGP key stakeholders including central and local government to understand what the EU ban will mean for the existing stock of 3G football AGPs in Northern Ireland and the timings for any legislative decisions.”

And it notes more information will be published when further research data is made available to the Irish FA.

The full statement can be read here.