MARK Warburton has issued scathing criticism about Scotland’s artificial surfaces and asked for them to be outlawed in the Premiership.

The manager’s comments come after Martyn Waghorn sustained a knee injury on Kilmarnock’s plastic pitch, which he says wouldn’t have been as severe on grass.

Although the former Brentford boss understands the financial constraints north of the border he thinks the pitches are stopping the Scottish game progress.

Warburton said: “Whatever the surface is we will deal with it, we have played on three artificial surfaces in a week and it’s not a problem to our players in terms of dealing with the surface.

“But there is a bigger picture in terms of the surfaces and the quality of product at the highest level.

“We are not ignoring the facts about revenue; we are not being ignorant to that fact because we fully understand the financial climate.

“What we’re saying is that at the highest level there must be a consistency of quality of product, which is essential.

“The PFA surveyed 700 plus players and 73% I believe turned round and said they would far play on a deteriorating grass pitch as opposed to artificial.”

“They are the ones who ply their trade week in and week out and that is all you need to know.

“If we can take the investment and we get the interest to come and support the game financially then the game in Scotland will move forward. To sit here and say at the moment it’s not an issue I think is not right.

“Do we just carry on and say it’s not going to get any better and therefore we accept it as it is or do we try and make an improvement.”

“I have made my viewpoint very clear to people at the club [Rangers]. Those discussions will go on above the football department, my entire job is to let the senior guys on the board know what myself, David and the players think about this subject.

“To be really clear I wouldn’t want them at the highest level, which would be the Premiership.”

Warburton does not accept any excuses about Scottish weather forcing teams to opt for the artificial turf.

He argues that in the English leagues the surface is banned and for good reason, he believes Scotland can cope with grass pitches across the board with the right infrastructure.

Rangers will have played on three different artifical pitches in eight days when they meet Queen of the South on Sunday.

The Gers gaffer continued: “In my opinion and speaking to a lot of people if you are going to attract investment and sponsors can we get a better quality of product and you do that by getting high quality pitches.

“Then I’m told that the Scottish weather couldn’t take good grass pitches; does it not rain in Manchester or Liverpool? It’s nonsense.”

“I am not privy to all the information or smart enough to know all about the financial side and income but when you turn on the TV and watch the Premier League and Championship down south you see the quality of pitches.

“Yes those pitches can be worth £1 or £2 million but the quality of the product is outstanding.

“Those pitches demand watering and I can’t think of any Premier League game being called off due to waterlogged pitches because their pitches absorb it.

“Down south how many have artificial surfaces out of 92? None because it’s banned and why is it banned if it is so needed? Are clubs not in financial distress down south in Leagues One and Two?

“There is a reason for all that and that’s because the most important people are the players and the spectators for the quality of product.”

 

Article Copyright © 2019. Permission to use quotations from this article online is only granted subject to appropriate source credit and hyperlink to www.rangers.co.uk