A weekly five a side with your mates has always been seen as a good thing. A chance to keep fit if you've no other outlet. A chance to relive the sporting glory days of your youth. Most importantly of all, it's a chance to have a bit of craic with your mates. 

However, new research coming from the states might put the weekly five a side in jeopardy. The research in questions claims that artificial pitches could pose a cancer threat. 

A researcher has claimed to link artificial pitches with 158 cases of players developing cancer in the US. Researcher Amy Griffin, revealed that the number of young adults to develop cancer has increased since the introduction of artificial turf on campus, but admitted that the observations are not solidified in fact. 

Griffin is a former goalkeeper and coach at the University of Washington. She told ABC News that: "I've coached for 26, 27 years. My first 15 years, I never heard anything about this. All of a sudden it seems to be a stream of kids."

According to Griffin's research, the risk lies with the crumb runner used to protect the surface of the pitches. The rubber is often made of old tyres and can contain mercury, lead, benzene and arsenic which can be carcinogenic.

A reporter from The Irish Daily Star is claiming that several clubs have voiced their concerns with FIFA over the issue. A FIFA spokesperson said the report “did not substantiate the assumption that cancer resulting from exposure to crumb rubber infill could potentially occur."

While Amy Griffin's research may just be coincidental there's no denying that it is slightly worrying. Anyone who's played on an Astro Turf pitch will know that the crumb rubber gets everywhere. Especially if you're a goalkeeper. Here's hoping we can get definitive proof either way about the dangers that the rubber can pose to our health. 

Via The Independent