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Imminent ban on artificial grass pitches: this is what local football clubs say

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Until now, the district footballers were jealously turning to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Murnau and Oberau. Such an artificial turf – which has something. But surfaces could become a problem.

Landkreis – Florian Brück is comfortably seated on his sofa. Relax is announced. The television is rather missing. But suddenly Brück listens. Did they just say something about artificial grass pitches? From a ban? The President of FC Oberau is editing the volume. And indeed: the TV presenter is talking about EU projects to remove artificial grass so popular in winter. The impact on the environment of microplastics, which comes from playgrounds in groundwater, is too important. From here 2022, they should be a thing of the past.

Possible ban on artificial turf: shock for FC Oberau

"I was shocked," admits Brück. Who knows the sports facilities of FC Oberau, knows why. Since 2009, there is exclusively an artificial turf area. All teams of the club train and play on it. "And that was also our plan for the next 60 years." This point is now deeply shaken. If the EU puts its plan into action, the FCO faces a huge problem. A dismantling of the place would probably cost him 300,000 euros. "Such sums are not easy for us," says Brück. He insists that the EU will not abandon the clubs if the ban comes. "Without subsidies, we are in the rain." A much less expensive solution would be to replace the rubber granules, currently filled, with cork granules. It would then no longer be necessary to dismantle the artificial turf. "To what extent such a thing is possible, we still have to discover it."

Possible ban on artificial turf: 1. FC Garmisch-Partenkirchen expects

Responsible people also face similar issues at 1. FC Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Its artificial grass in Gröben is also equipped with the criticized rubber granules. However, Arne Albl of the FC Sport Board sees no reason to worry. "We are still waiting for the future development of the EU," he said. What annoys him is that the considerations are based on a study by the Fraunhofer Institute, whose proximity to reality is "not at all healthy". Even the organization itself picked up after the first publication, saying it needed to get back to the numbers. "It's important," says Albl. While it is true that footballers fear that rubber granules transport rubber granules to the groundwater, Albl believes that a ban on the environment is sensible. "But as long as this is not certain, I do not understand why the EU is making all clubs crazy."

Possible ban on artificial grass: TSV Murnau remains relaxed

Karl Steingruber blows in the same horn. Murnauer Gemeindewerke's head recently closely examined TSV Murnau's artificial turf pitch. In cooperation with the Water Management Office, he came to the conclusion that the playground "imposed no charge for the environment". Because of the integrated drainage wells and septic tanks, the microplastic is not found in the surrounding meadows. "Therefore, we see the subject pretty relaxed so far."

Possible ban on artificial turf: SC Eibsee Grainau relies on cork

Whatever the decision of the EU, SC Eibsee Grainau will be effective. The club decided to use cork granules as filler material when planning its synthetic turf pitch, which should be completed in the summer of 2020 at the latest. SC President Christoph Elsner had first heard about it at a workshop for clubs wanting to build artificial turf – and was immediately thrilled. "Cork is a natural product that is perfectly compatible with the environment," he said. Although it is slightly more expensive than the widely used rubber granulate, it absorbs more water and does not heat as fast as rubber in the sun. Elsner is happy that he and his colleagues have decided on the design of the cork version. "Otherwise we would look stupid now." However, from the point of view of the SCG, everything is in perfect condition. "Our projects are in no way affected by those of the EU."