Sofiane Boufal

The French football players’ union on Tuesday called for synthetic grass pitches to be replaced with natural grass surfaces “from the start of next season”, citing injury concerns.

“The UNFP requests the LFP, the competition organiser, to act so that all clubs in Ligue 1 are equipped with a natural grass pitch, from the start of next season,” the union wrote in a statement to France’s Professional Football League.

The request came just three days after Lille midfielder Sofiane Boufal injured his knee during Saturday’s 1-0 victory at Lorient, whose Stade du Moustoir is fitted with a synthetic pitch, leaving the Morocco international requiring surgery.

“The practice of professional football on synthetic surfaces leads to, even before mentioning the injuries like the one suffered by (Boufal), muscular pain, twists, stress on joints and burns, which end up leaving traces on body parts already under heavy strain,” the UNFP said.

Lorient have already announced plans to install a new grass pitch in the summer with the LFP set to outlaw synthetic playing surfaces in France’s top two divisions by 2018.

However, Nancy president Jacques Rousselot said the club would continue to play on synthetic turf for the 2016-17 season after clinching their return to the top flight. – Agence France-Presse

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