Braintree take "traditionalist approach" as Conference vote goes against artificial pitches

Braintree and Witham Times: Braintree have suffered with a waterlogged pitch in recent years at the Amlin Stadium, but still feel grass is the surface of choice for playing football. Braintree have suffered with a waterlogged pitch in recent years at the Amlin Stadium, but still feel grass is the surface of choice for playing football.

Braintree Town chairman Lee Harding says the club takes a “traditionalist approach” on pitches and that is why it opted to vote against the use of artificial surfaces in the top-flight of English non-league football.

A proposal was heard at a Football Conference extraordinary general meeting earlier today to make a rule change to allow artificial turf pitches, but clubs voted by 21 to 11 against the motion.

Despite many games being postponed in recent weeks due to waterlogged pitches all over the country the vote means only grass playing surfaces will be permitted for the 2014/15 season in all three divisions of the Skrill Conference.

Harding said Braintree were one of those voting against the rule change, even though they have been badly affected with waterlogging at the Amlin Stadium over the last two years.

He said: “The contentious issue at the meeting was over artificial pitches, but we take a traditionalist approach at Braintree and we believe football should be played on grass.

“At the end of the day, you can’t go up into the Football League with an artificial pitch and if the unthinkable happened and Braintree got the chance to be promoted, we want to be in a position to take it.

“I think there are those who may consider themselves long-term non-league clubs and they may have voted for it, but there are those who have more ambition to look beyond the Conference.

“We also have an eye on moving to the new stadium and that will be a grass pitch.

“We are expecting to spend a lot of money on that – probably between £125,000 and £175,000 – but we think grass is the right surface.”

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