Sutton United will rip up their 3G pitch and replace it with grass at a cost of £300,000 if they win promotion from the National League, after conceding defeat in their fight to allow the surface in the EFL, report The Evening Standard.
Sutton are third in the National League but under Football League rules the club would be refused entry to League Two next season if they kept their pitch as it was. And, in a bizarre twist, should they win promotion and refuse to lay grass turf they would be demoted to National League South.
Sutton hosted Arsenal in the FA Cup last year and it had been suggested they would prefer to keep the pitch and remain a non‑League club. But Sutton chairman Bruce Elliott has confirmed that, if they win promotion, the club will install a grass pitch.
Sutton spent £420,000 to install their 3G pitch in 2015 and have urged the EFL to change their rules. However, that would require the backing of the majority of EFL clubs and Elliott says there is “no appetite” for that.
Artificial surfaces were banned from English professional leagues in 1995 but Elliott said: “It is frustrating because these pitches are clearly acceptable now. They have moved on from those pitches that came in at Luton and QPR many years ago. Technology has moved on. People are not using the same computer they were using 30 years ago and artificial surfaces have moved on with technology.