Elite players’ perceptions of football playing surfaces: a mixed effects ordinal logistic regression model of players’ perceptions

The aim of this study was to determine potential explanatory factors that may be associated with different attitudes amongst the global population of elite footballers to the use of different surfaces for football. A questionnaire was used to capture elite football players’ perceptions of playing surfaces and a mixed effects ordinal logistic regression model was used to explore potential explanatory factors of players’ perceptions. In total, responses from 1129 players from 44 different countries were analysed. The majority of players expressed a strong preference for the use of Natural Turf pitches over alternatives such as Artificial Turf. The regression model, with a players’ country as a random effect, indicated that players were less favourable towards either Natural Turf or Artificial Turf where there was perceived to be greater variability in surface qualities or the surface was perceived to have less desirable properties. Player’s surface experience was also linked to their overall attitudes, with a suggestion that the quality of the Natural Turf surface players experienced dictated players’ support for Artificial Turf.