In March 2014, The FA Cup Committee decided that clubs would be allowed to play FA Cup matches on 3G (3rd generation) football turf surfaces. As of the 2014/2015 season, all FA Cup matches may be played on FIFA-certified football turf pitches or those that meet the European standard, but only pitches that meet the required performance criteria on an annual basis may be used.
The FA General Secretary Alex Horne said: “We’re delighted that The FA Cup Committee and the Professional Game Board have approved this rule change, as recommended by The FA Board. Clubs are increasingly seeing the benefits of using 3G surfaces across the football pyramid, and clubs who play on those surfaces can now retain home advantage in the competition.”
Alex Horne sees the main benefits in the wider use in grassroots football: “The value of 3G pitches has been clearly demonstrated during the recent wet weather where leagues within the grassroots game have migrated to them to address fixture backlogs.”
With this decision, The FA has acknowledged the development of football turf systems over the past decade and the development of modern 3G systems with sand and rubber infill.