Making an announcement on SKY Sports Boots ‘n’ all programme Widnes revealed that they will play on an artificial pitch from next season at a cost of £500K.
The pitch, known as an ‘i-pitch’ or a 4th Generation (4G) artificial pitch, is manufactured by DESSO sports systems and will be installed in time for Widnes’ pre season training at the end of this year. The club will be working with the RFL and the pitch manufacturers to ensure that the pitch is suitable and meets requirements for the Super League competition.
The Vikings have released an FAQ document regarding the pitch on their website – http://widnesvikings.co.uk/article.php?id=5601 this reveals various details such as the fact that the club will allow away teams to use the pitch to train prior to playing at the Stobart Stadium.
Widnes chairman Steve O’Connor extolled the virtues of the new pitch “This is a first, not just for the Vikings or rugby league but for sport as a whole. The i-pitch at Stobart Stadium Halton will modernise the game and create a fantastic match day experience. Our members and visitors will be able to see more games, it will create a pathway for our young players and it will be utilised as a community resource. We are working with our partners at Halton Borough Council and have exciting plans to transform the i-pitch into a 7-a-side football sports facility throughout the week. This will generate income for the club and the stadium.
“It is my vision for people to be able to ‘keep on the grass’ after the game and enjoy community and family/fun activities. It is absolute nonsense to have a stadium and not be able to access the pitch for 90% of the time.
“Denis Betts and the team have been training regularly on a similar surface over the last few weeks and we have received some great feedback. We need to dispel the myth of grass burns and safety issues, technology has vastly improved in recent years and this simply doesn’t happen! It will also reduce the risks of cancellation through frozen pitches.”