Stadium playing surface tops in "A" League

Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) today announced that A-League Players voted Brisbane Roar's Suncorp Stadium as the best pitch in the A-League in 2009/2010.

PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab and Brisbane Roar Midfielder Massimo Murdocca presented awards to Queensland's Minister of Sport, the Hon. Phil Reeves, and Suncorp's Grounds Manager, Mal Caddies, in recognition of this important achievement.

"Mal and his team have done a fantastic job with the Suncorp surface this season," Schwab said. "We often hear that maintaining the quality of the playing surface is difficult in multi-use venues. However, Mal's team has demonstrated that this does not have to be the case. I congratulate and thank the Minister, Mal and everyone connected with Suncorp on the results they have achieved."

Murdocca stated that, "the playing surface is fundamental to the quality of a football match. A high quality surface enables players to fully demonstrate their talents. This improves the experience enjoyed by fans both in the stadium and at home. A poor surface not only negatively influences the quality of a game; it increases the risk of injury to A-League players."

Accepting the award on behalf of Stadiums Queensland, Minister Reeves thanked the players.

"It's great to receive this feedback from A-League players about the quality of the venues they play at in Queensland. This is great recognition of all for the hard work that goes into preparing these pitches week in week out.

"Obviously it is important that in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup our top players are playing on world class surfaces.

"Furthermore, for our junior players to come through the ranks and compete for a spot in the Socceroos squad it's very advantageous they are able to showcase their skills on well prepared fields.

"Every footballer will tell you that the quality of the match surface will affect the quality of the game, so I couldn't be more pleased with the efforts of the ground staff in ensuring our footballers are given the best chance of success."

Whilst the PFA Pitch Rating System has demonstrated the quality of the Suncorp playing surface, the PFA is disappointed to see some A-League venues struggle to earn a pass mark from the players.

"Clearly the standard of the playing surfaces at EnergyAustralia and Etihad Stadiums require attention," Schwab said. "Perhaps they can look to Suncorp's example in time for next season."

The PFA introduced the Pitch Rating System for the 2009/2010 A-League season to promote quality playing surfaces. The system, designed to ensure first-class football pitches and protect players' health and safety, rates the playing surfaces of A-League venues based on 4 criteria: (1) overall; (2) hardness; (3) pace; and (4) smoothness. At the conclusion of each match, the visiting captain rates the field based on each criterion by giving a mark out of 5. Suncorp Stadium achieved a season average of 4.3:

Pitch Rating System

For more information including the full results of the report visit www.pfa.net.au (news section) or contact Brendan Schwab:

M: +613 (0) 417 302 699
E: brendan@pfa.net.au