Widnes pitch set to be relaid

Widnes chief executive James Rule has revealed the 3G pitch at the Select Security Stadium is to be replaced.

Plans have been pencilled in for the current ‘carpet’ to be replaced with a newer version at the end of the season.

The pitch has been down for seven years and is nearing the end of its life.

Rule insisted the surface still complies with RFL rulings, despite failing one element of FIFA’s ground regulations earlier this month, and he believes more clubs will follow suit by installing artificial pitches in the future.

“There are aspirations for the pitch to be resurfaced, probably this off-season,” said Rule.

“The pitch gets a number of tests by the RFL, the RFU, FIFA and many others. It’s fully up to date and is compliant with RFL and RFU regulations.

“I believe it failed on one element of FIFA regulations to do with the ball roll, but that’s not my area of specialism.

“It’s been down seven years or so and gets a lot of use. In terms of safety, there are no issues.

“People have negatives views on the pitch sometimes, but I think it has far more positives.

“The fact that it can be used at all times means you can train on it, the Academy can use it and you can always play on it.

“When it gets to pre-match and it’s raining, you don’t have to cancel any activities, community stuff, curtain-raisers, all the things young people are involved in.

“In reality, a lot of clubs train on them now anyway, and they’re becoming forever more prominent in rugby union with Newcastle Falcons, Cardiff and Saracens all playing on these pitches.

“They’re the future in ensuring a stadium is part of the community.”

Although the new surface will use similar technology to the current pitch, Rule revealed it may look different.

“It will be greener and fresher,” he explained.

“One of the things you can do now is apply green crumb rather than black, so it looks more aesthetically pleasing. It looks a bit less artificial.”