What is a 3G pitch? And how about 4G or 5G?

A question we get asked frequently here at McArdle Sport Tec, is “What is a 3G pitch?”, and with all the buzzwords being thrown around in the industry these days, we can understand the confusion. Today we intend to get stuck in and answer that very question.

So, what does 3G stand for?

To explain it simply, 3G is short for Third Generation.

Third Generation (3G) surfaces are the newest generation of artificial turf and are referred to as one of the major recent innovations in football. They are designed to offer similar playing characteristics to playing on natural turf, mimicking the ball bounce and ball roll. Read more details about what makes these pitches so effective here.

What sets a 3G pitch apart from older generation synthetic pitches?

A 3G surface is created using a blend of grass-like fibres attached to a special backing. Unlike older style synthetic pitches which were filled with sand, 3G pitches are filled with sand as well as rubber granules. The rubber helps to keep the turf pile upright and makes the surface less abrasive when in contact with skin, resulting in fewer friction burns – which is fantastic for players.

Prior to 3G pitches being developed there were 1G and 2G pitches. 1G pitches are non-infilled surfaces, also known as astroturf, and 2G pitches are sand-based pitches primarily used for hockey.

And what qualifies a pitch to be branded as 3G?

To become an accredited 3G pitch, the surface must meet the RFU or FIFA’s stringent guidelines.  Each pitch will be tested by an accredited ‘Field Testing and Certification’ body and retested on a periodic basis to ensure the facility complies with mandatory governing body standards.

How about 4G and 5G surfaces?

The FA’s Third Generation Football Turf Guidance state “At the moment there is no such thing as 4G or 5G.” These are marketing terms used by companies  Some manufacturers may promote non-infilled products, but these have not received acceptance as a suitable football surface and often struggle to satisfy FIFA requirements.

Some organisations offering these ‘latest generation surfaces’ may not be able to offer the appropriate accreditation for the pitch facility.  McArdle build and install our artificial pitches in full accordance with SAPCA (Sport and Play Construction Association) and Sport England guidelines.  We work closely with our clients to make sure we stay focused on their specific needs and always fully comply with FIFA, FIH, RFU, World Rugby and IAAF requirements.

Why should I choose a 3G pitch?

3G pitches are widely considered to have revolutionised football and rugby. The pitches are extremely durable and proven to perform well for high-level rugby training. Research commissioned by FIFA also concluded that the game of football didn’t change significantly when played on a 3G pitch compared to natural grass, and also found that there were no significant differences in the types or number of injuries between these two surfaces – proving that 3G surfaces are doing their job well in imitating natural grass sports pitches.

For further information, or to discuss a possible 3G pitch project, call our friendly sales team on 01491 827810 Ext 1, or send us a message with any queries you have and we would be happy to help.

3G surface