23.1 The Pitch
With effect from the commencement of Season 2016/17 Competition Matches may be played on:

  • (a) Grass Pitch; or
  • (b) Football Turf Pitch in Steps 1 to 6

23.2 Ground Maintenance
The Club is to be responsible for the maintenance of the Pitch and for the general maintenance of the ground. The Club must ensure that adequate arrangements are in place to maintain its Pitch in good order,
as required under these Rules.
23.3 Pitch Standards
All Pitches must be flat and free from surface depressions and excessive undulations. The maximum slopes allowable shall not exceed an even gradient of vertical to horizontal 1:41 in any direction.
The Competition may require a Club to take such steps as the Board shall specify if not satisfied that an adequate standard of the Pitch is being maintained, including but not limited to the Board commissioning
an independent report (including a Pitch Test) on the state of the Pitch, the cost of such independent report to be borne by the Club concerned.
23.4 Where a Club proposes to install a Football Turf Pitch (or replace an existing Football Turf Pitch) the following shall apply:
For matches played under the auspices of The National League at Step 1& 2 of the National League System:-

(a) the Club shall disclose to the Competition, as soon as reasonably practicable but in any event not later than 7 days following the Club’s final match of the Playing Season preceding the scheduled commencement of installation, full details of the proposed contractor installing the Football Turf Pitch and the timescales for installation. The proposed Football Turf Pitch must have a design and specification that is capable of attaining the FIFA Recommended Two Star Certificate following installation;
(b) no installation works shall commence until such time as the Competition has approved the proposed installation and the timetable thereof. Installation may only take place outside the Playing Season;
(c) installation must be scheduled to be completed in sufficient time to enable the completion of a Pitch Test and for confirmation of the results thereof to be supplied to the Competition no later than 14 days prior to the commencement of the following Playing Season;
(d) the Club shall procure that:

  • (i) a Pitch Test is carried out on the newly installed Football Turf Pitch; and
  • (ii) the FIFA accredited field test institute provides the Competition with a copy of their official reports to FIFA immediately following completion of the Pitch Test; and

(e) the Club shall provide a copy of the FIFA Recommended Two Star Certificate within 7 days of receipt to the Competition. For matches played at Step 3 and below of the National League System:-
(f) the Club shall disclose to the Competition, as soon as reasonably practicable full details of the proposed contractor installing the Football Turf Pitch and the timescales for installation. The proposed Football Turf Pitch must have a design and specification that is capable of attaining the FIFA Recommended One Star Certificate / IATS (International Artificial Turf Standard) or Two Star Certificate
following installation;
(g) no installation works shall commence until such time as the Competition has approved the proposed installation and the timetable thereof;
(h) the Club shall procure that:

(i) a Pitch Test is carried out on the newly installed Football Turf Pitch; and
(ii) the FIFA accredited field test institute provides the Competition with a copy of their official reports to FIFA immediately following completion of the Pitch Test; and

(i) the Club shall provide a copy of the FIFA Recommended One Star / IATS or Two Star Certificate within 7 days of receipt to the Competition in which it is in membership.
23.5 Only Clubs with FIFA Recommended Two Star certified Football Turf Pitches will be eligible to take part in matches under the auspices of The National League at Step 1 & 2 of the National League System SAVE THAT a Club which has a ground with the recommended FIFA One Star / IATS Certificate installed by 31 July 2016 can be promoted to Step Two of the National league System providing that it undertakes that upon renewal of the Pitch the Club will install a Pitch with a FIFA Recommended Two Star Certificate or be relegated to the appropriate Step.
23.6 Without prejudice to the obligations set out in Paragraph 23.3 above, Clubs that have a Football Turf Pitch shall:-
(a) take such steps and/or refrain from such actions as are necessary to ensure that the Football Turf Pitch continues to meet the requirements for a FIFA Recommended One / IATS or Two Star Certificate (as
applicable) at all times during each Playing Season including, without limitation, complying with all requirements of the FIFA Quality Standard;
(b) where required to undertake Pitch Tests:
(i) procure that the FIFA accredited field test institute undertaking any Pitch Test provides to The Competition a copy of their official reports to FIFA immediately following completion of the Pitch Test;
(ii) provide a copy of the FIFA Recommended One / IATS or Two Star Certificate by 31st May prior to the commencement of each Playing Season (as applicable); and
(c) co-operate with all reasonable requests made by the Competition, the Association or FIFA for the performance of the Football Turf Pitch to be measured.
23.7 Where the Board is aware, by whatever reason, a Football Turf Pitch fails to meet the requirements of the FIFA Recommended One / IATS or Two Star Certificate, including following any Pitch Test, the Club shall forthwith, at its cost, take such steps as the Board shall specify to ensure the Football Turf Pitch is restored to the requirements of the FIFA Recommended One / IATS or Two Star Certificate (as applicable).
23.8 The Competition shall have the right to order the postponement of a match where the Football Turf Pitch fails to meet the requirements of the FIFA Recommended One / IATS or Two Star Certificate (as applicable).
23.9 Where a Club has a Football Turf Pitch, any visiting Club is allowed to train, at no cost to that Club, on the Football Turf Pitch on the day before the relevant match or at a mutually agreed time. The length
of this training session may not exceed one hour, unless agreed otherwise with the home Club. The visiting Club must notify the home Club of its intention to exercise this right no later than 2 weeks prior to the scheduled match (or within 48 hours of the arrangement of the fixture, if later).
23.10 A breach of any of the requirements of Rule 23 which results in the postponement or abandonment of a match shall be dealt with in accordance with Rule 8.37.
23.11 Pitch Protection
In order to protect any Pitch, unless otherwise mutually agreed between both participating Clubs, the following procedures shall be adopted by Players and Officials in the periods immediately before and after a Match and at half time:
(a) the Pitch shall only be used for warming up or warming down by Players named on the Team Sheet;
(b) pre-match warming up by either team shall not commence until 45 minutes before the kick-off time at the earliest, shall not last for more than 30 minutes, and shall end no later than 10 minutes before the
kick-off time;
(c) if portable goals are provided they shall be used for all goalkeeping drills other than crossing practice;
(d) the goalmouth area shall be used by goalkeepers only if portable goals are not provided or for crossing practice and then only for not more than 20 minutes;
(e) for the purposes of warming up and warming down each team shall use only part of the Pitch between the edge of a penalty area and the half way line or as otherwise directed by the groundsman;
(f) all speed and stamina work shall be undertaken off the Pitch parallel to the touchline opposite the side to be patrolled by the assistant referee or, in the absence of sufficient space, in that part of the Pitch
described in paragraph (e) above or as otherwise directed by the groundsman;
(g) Players using the Pitch at half time as aforesaid shall give due consideration to any other activity or entertainment taking place on the Pitch at the same time;
(h) the Home Club may water the Pitch at half time provided it gives reasonable notice to the referee and the other Club that it intends to do so and that any such watering is carried out evenly over the entire
length and width of the Pitch; and
(i) any warming down after the conclusion of the Match shall last for no longer than 15 minutes and for that purpose neither penalty area shall be used.
23.12. Not Applicable