Some A-League playing surfaces continue to compromise the quality of the game and potentially undermine player health and safety, according to the latest results of the A-League Pitch Rating System announced by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA).

The PFA A-League Pitch Rating System rates the playing surfaces of A-League venues based on 4 criteria: (1) overall; (2) hardness; (3) pace; and (4) smoothness.  The PFA introduced the rating system at the start of the 2009/2010 A-League season.  At the conclusion of each match, the visiting captain rates the field based on each criterion by giving a mark out of 5, with 5 being the highest possible score.

“According to the players, Brisbane Roar’s Suncorp Stadium continues to set the standard for A-League playing surfaces, with an almost perfect overall rating of 4.7” PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab said today.  “As the field was also voted as the players’ best at Round 10, this demonstrates that multi-use venues can provide a playing surface that meets the exacting requirements of top tier professional football.

The PFA remains concerned by the failure of some venues to provide top class surfaces even after the end of the AFL, NRL and rugby playing seasons.

“Clearly, the players would prefer to see better surfaces at some venues, most notably Newcastle Jet’s Energy Australia Stadium, Melbourne Victory’s Etihad Stadium and Gold Coast United’s Skilled Park.  Of all the football codes, soccer clearly demands the best playing surface and this has yet to become part of Australia’s sporting culture.

“Perhaps, we can call upon our stadium operators to approach the preparation of an A-League field with the same care and attention that presently surrounds the preparation of the wicket for a cricket test match in Australia,” Schwab added.

The results to the end of Round 18 are, in summary:

  • Overall Rating (the pitch was of an excellent quality for top tier professional football):
    Best rating: Brisbane Roar
    Worst rating: Newcastle Jets
  • Hardness (the pitch was not too hard for top-tier professional football):
    Best rating: Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix
    Worst rating: North Queensland Fury
  • Pace(the pitch played at perfect place for top-tier professional football):
    Best rating: North Queensland Fury and Sydney FC
    Worst rating: Newcastle Jets
  • Smoothness(the pitch was perfectly level/even for top-tier professional football):
    Best rating: North Queensland Fury
    Worst rating: Newcastle Jets