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The SU is calling on the University commit to building a floodlit 3G pitch with students as priority users by the start of the 2021/22 academic year. 

Are we falling behind the pack?

‘First-class’, country leading, ‘state-of-the-art’- how would you describe the sporting facilities at the University of Bath? The university’s struggling to keep up with what is now a basic provision. 3G pitches; most universities have them, even colleges and schools do. At BUCS conference this year, I was made very aware of just how far behind we are. Student officers from the majority of universities were telling me about their 3G pitches, and were surprised that an institution such as ours doesn’t have 3G facilities.

What do we have?

  • 15 Grass pitches, one floodlit. 5 hours playing time per pitch per week.
  • 2 Astro pitches, both floodlit. Usage is saturated. Rugby, American Football, 11-a-side Football cannot train/play on this pitch. Impact injuries are common on these.
  • 1 sad SU sport officer :(

Training strips, and not much else!

 The first mention of 3G pitches within the SU top ten dates back to 2013. Since then, little progress has been made, with one non-floodlit 3G training strip (not a pitch…) being built at a snail’s pace.

Why is this just not enough?

The size of the training strip means that matches can’t be played on the instalment. Most student sport peaks over winter, with the vast majority of fixtures squeezed into semester 1 and early semester 2. The windows of natural light within this period means that the strip will only be usable during lecture times.  

The lack of movement from the university represents a stagnating sporting offer. The recent cuts to the funding to the Department of Sport Development & Recreation from the university have impacted the coaching offer for our performance and development squads as well as the upkeep of the facilities- the athletics track and astro pitch to name a few.

Are there questions to be asked about the senior management’s commitment to sport at the university? Apparently not! In my conversations with senior level management, there has been a lot of support behind closed doors, but no real movement. Big shoutout to Estates, taking an environmentally friendly approach to stalling progress and recycling the same excuses for years…

So what are the excuses?

The floodlights: Bath Skyline and bat flight paths- Floodlighting overspill could affect both the bath skyline and bat flight paths. Solutions such as LED floodlights, more focused lights, hoods, cowls and barriers can minimise light spill. No recent consultations with ecologists have been done on this topic.

‘Is there a demand?’ Over the last 6 years, memberships of grass-based sports at the SU have grown from 972 to 1670. No new grass-based facilities have been introduced over this period.

‘Is there really a substantial benefit to having a 3G pitch over a grass pitch?’: Yes! 3G pitches are able to withstand intensive, year-long use! We can use a floodlit 3G during all of the STV’s opening hours, but can only use a grass pitch for about 5 hours per week. Over the winter months, many of our BUCS sports and our interdepartmental sport matches are cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

Cost- Estimates of £1.5-2m. In the grand scheme of things,not really a huge price tag for a university, particularly for the Sports University of the year 2018….


Why do we want them:

  • Meet the demand for pitch-based sports at the university, and allow for increased participation in sport.
  • Improves the quality of training for recreational, social and performance sports.
  • Allow the expansion of recreational provisions of our grass-based sports to complete beginner sessions, particularly benefiting first-timers.
  • More consistent sporting offer- increased resilience to poor weather, reducing session and match cancellations.
  • Safer surface than our current synthetic pitches, fewer impact injuries!
  • Reassurance that the university hasn’t forgotten about sports
  • It’s a bit of a joke that we don’t already have them. Schools have them…


Call to Action

The SU is calling the university to commit to building a floodlit 3G pitch with students as priority users by the start of the 2021/22 academic year

What can you do? Get involved! Get onto Instagram, and tag the @theSUBath and @UniofBath, with the hashtags #PitchPlease #UOB3G