By Andrew Williams,
When Steven Gerrard leads the England football team out at Wembley tonight the players will be relishing playing on the lush Wembley turf. However, in the future the possibility is that, even at the highest level, players will be playing not on grass, but on ?turf? produced from recycled tyres.
County Durham recycling firm Credential Automotive currently process about 11 million tyres per year, and two thirds of this total goes into the manufacture of synthetic football pitches. Credential supplies a Canadian firm, FieldTurf Tarket, who supply synthetic ?turf? to numerous UEFA and FIFA approved grounds. The company was responsible for the pitch at Moscow?s Luzhniki BSA Olympic Stadium, which was the first ground with an artificial pitch to host a UEFA Cup match.
The technology that lies behind FieldTurf, produces a durable pitch that recreates the feel and playing characteristics of the real thing. Steve Patterson, of Credential, stated, ?We?re proud to be playing our parting sporting excellence around the world?.
In order to keep pace with the growing demand the Durham based company has had to invest in some state-of-the-art technology. The most dramatic example of this was the installation, in 2007, of the ?Tyrannosaurus? ? a tyre shredder with the capacity to shred 20 tonnes of tyres per hour.
In the competitive and busy world of sport, pitches undergo continual wear and tear, and synthetic pitches may ease the pressure on over-used grounds. The quality of the product suits it to use at the highest levels, and over the next few years more and more players may find themselves playing on something that they had previously only thought about driving on. Who knows it may even see the recycling of England?s footballing fortunes.