Express & Star

FA’s all-weather Great Barr football pitch backed after size concerns

A new all-weather football pitch will be built at the region’s FA headquarters after plans were backed by Sandwell Council.

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Birmingham County FA, Great Barr. A plan for a new all-weather pitch has been approved for the association\'s headquarters. Photo: Google

The new 3G floodlit pitch will replace an existing grass version at the Birmingham County FA headquarters, off Ray Hall Lane, in Great Barr.

It would be marked with one full-size pitch for eleven-a-side games, although the dimensions fall below the standard for adult matches and would only be classed as big enough for 11-versus-11 under-15 and under-16 youth games by FA standards, as well as four five-a-side fields and seven-versus-seven and nine-versus-nine pitches.

The FA recommends that senior football pitches should measure 100.5 metres by 64 metres.

The difference in size was deemed acceptable by government body Sport England after it had called for more information about Birmingham FA’s plans before they could be supported.

Sport England, the body responsible for protecting playing fields, had originally objected to the move. saying Birmingham FA had not yet justified getting rid of a grass pitch for a new artificial one and highlighted the smaller-sized pitch.

Last year, Sport England said Birmingham County FA’s plans did not meet any of its exceptions because the association had not shown that the new 3G pitch would affect participation numbers on the existing pitches.

But the objection to Sandwell Council was withdrawn after Sport England said that after being provided with more information, it was happy to make an exception and would not stand in the way of the new facilities being built.

Sport England also said the proposed 91m by 55m pitch would be smaller than its 100-metre by 64-metre standard.

But it said it was happy to support a smaller pitch because building anything above the standard measurements would cause problems for the site’s one-way system and car park.