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Football Foundation to power up grass pitches

Football Foundation to power up grass pitches: The Premier League, The FA and Government’s Football Foundation has today announced the launch of its ‘Power Up Your Grass Pitch’ campaign, which will revolutionise the state of grass football pitches in England.

The country’s biggest sports charity is on a mission to improve over 7,000 grass pitches by 2024 and 20,000 by 2030, to ensure the 12 million grassroots football players across the country have great places to play.

Football Foundation to power up grass pitches

Football Foundation to power up grass pitches

Around 87% of affiliated football is played on grass pitches, and with over 150,000 matches cancelled due to poor pitch quality during the last football season alone, play is often brought to a halt. The improvements brought about thanks to the Football Foundations work will make these cancellations a thing of the past. Further more if the improvements are achieved, by 2030 grassroots football pitches in England will be able to facilitate an additional 30,000 matches per week.

Improving facilities means that more people across England will get to enjoy playing the nation’s favourite sport, transforming people’s physical and mental wellbeing, as well as supporting local communities and economies.

To help make this ambition a reality, the Football Foundation has developed an app which is now being rolled out across the country. ‘PitchPower’ is an online tool that gives every community football club and organisation in the country the ability to carry out their own grass pitch inspections, providing fast and accurate data which is less time intensive and more efficient than in person inspections. Once an inspection is submitted, Regional Pitch Advisers at the Grounds Management Association produce an assessment report with bespoke advice and recommendations to improve the grass pitch quality at a site.

By using this tool more widely, the Football Foundation anticipates it will be able to carry out as many as 20,000 inspections a year, five times as many as in the past. In its trial phase, PitchPower has helped to inspect almost 5,000 pitches. These inspections have led to 446 grants being issued worth £8.6m, all of which has gone towards improving 1,564 pitches.

Once inspections have been completed via the PitchPower app – clubs and facilities are then eligible to apply for funding from the Football Foundation to support pitch improvements identified through the app.

Along with PitchPower unlocking funding, clubs and organisations will also be encouraged to upskill their workforce by having access to a range of free courses from the Grounds Management Association and join a community of professional and amateur groundskeepers on the free Football Foundation Groundskeeping Community App.

Robert Sullivan, Football Foundation Chief Executive Officer, said:

“Millions of players are left disappointed every year when their matches are cancelled due to poor quality pitches, something the Football Foundation and its partners are working tirelessly to prevent. We have made some ambitious targets when it comes to improving grass pitches – we want to get 20,000 pitches to ‘good’ quality by 2030 – to ensure no games are called off because of a poor quality pitch.

“Thanks to funding from the Premier League, The FA and Government our dedicated teams will be working hard to ensure clubs and facilities across the country have the support and resource they need to power up their grass pitches.”

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Youth football pitches wrecked

Youth football pitches wrecked: Five pitches maintained by Aspull Juniors FC were churned up and left unusable after reports on social media that there was a quad bike riding on the grass last week.

Read the full article from Wigan Today here

Youth football pitches wrecked

Youth football pitches wrecked

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Top questions for FIFA Football Certification

Top questions for FIFA Football Certification: Here are the answers to the most common questions I receive regarding FIFA certification of Footballs.

  1. How much will it cost?

Maybe less than you thought, depending on the certification level you want to achieve. The lowest cost option is FIFA’s International Match Standard (IMS) with its administrative fee of 500CHF plus a lab testing fee that is competitively priced. That is it as far as cost goes for a 2-year certification.

Top questions for FIFA Football Certification

Top questions for FIFA Football Certification

FIFA’s Quality and Quality Pro certifications can be more expensive but equally good value for those targeting top level leagues. FIFA Quality and FIFA Quality Pro incur fees (inclusive of admin and testing) of 3,300CHF to 4,400CHF — this certifies a ball for 4 years. Both Quality and Quality Pro certifications are subject to royalties per ball sold of 0.75CHF and 1.5CHF, with a minimum annual sum of 5,00CHF.

  1. How long does it take?

The application does not take long, but it depends on whether you or your manufacturer hold a valid WFSGI certificate and suitable Product Liability Insurance. At Sports Labs, we aim to have all testing completed and results submitted to FIFA for review within two weeks from the receipt of your samples at our UK laboratory.

  1. I don’t manufacture my own footballs; can I still get them certified?

Yes. You do not need to be a football manufacturer in to become a licensee and certify footballs.

  1. What paperwork do I need?

The paperwork required is the same for all certification levels and it is minimal. You will need to provide the following details:

  • Company Details
  • Contact details
  • Football brand and manufacturer
  • WFSGI Pledge. This is passed directly from WFSGI to FIFA on your behalf.
  • Your Product Liability Insurance certificate showing FIFA as a co-insured party
  • Details of the Football you want to certify

Once the above list is complete, fees are paid and test results are all in check, FIFA will provide a licensee agreement that you need to sign and return. That is it, all of your IMS logos and licence number will be send from FIFA directly to you.

  1. What is the difference between commercial and non-commercial licences?

Not much, is the short answer. But only FIFA’s IMS certifications can be obtained on a non-commercial licence. FIFA Quality and Quality Pro certifications require a commercial licence and will incur royalty fees.

  1. Are FIFA Quality Pro footballs better than FIFA IMS balls?

No, not as a rule. Many manufacturers and resellers choose to certify to IMS rather than Quality or Quality Pro certifications not because the balls are not good enough, but because IMS is sufficient for the target market and it is more cost effective. Many of the IMS balls on the market could easily achieve Quality and Quality Pro status. Of course, there are some that would not.

  1. How long does the certification last?

The certification for all non-commercial licence agreements (most IMS balls) is for 2 years, after which the football model will need to be re-tested. A new fee will be collected and a new agreement signed. A commercial licence agreement works much the but is good for 4 years.

  1. I’m a purchaser and just want to check the quality of the balls I’m buying, can you help?

We are asked this a lot and it should probably be further up on this list. Yes, absolutely. We can conduct stand alone quality testing at any stage, whether it be to check a model that your looking to bulk purchase, assess samples from varying manufacturers or simply as part of your development R&D. We tailor tests and test suites to match your needs, including single tests to more involved research.

  1. I’m having difficulty getting FIFA named as a co-insured party on our Product Liability Insurance, can you help?

Nope, unfortunately it is not our area of expertise. Our advice is to contact a reputable broker. Naturally, we have heard of companies struggling to get FIFA noted as the co-insured party, but with a bit of perseverance, we have never seen it block becoming a FIFA Licensee.

  1. Is there any real benefit to achieving FIFA Certification?

I strongly believe so, the testing conducted at Sports Labs is rigorous and assesses a range of key quality indicators that should give your end buyers confidence in the quality and performance of a product. Put your marketing team to work and display your FIFA IMS, Quality or Quality Pro achievement on your website, tradeshows, and social media. This is a proof of quality stamp, not just an association to FIFA.

You will find more articles like this in our Field Notes directory

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“Greenest Football Club” choose Johnsons

“Greenest Football Club” choose Johnsons: It isn’t just Grounds Manager Nigel Harvey who has moved from the Stanley Park Training Ground to the main Stadium pitch of Forest Green Rovers FC – his Johnsons Sports Seed programme has made the switch too!

Having used Johnsons mixtures for near-on 15 years, the club’s renowned eco and environmentally friendly approach means the combination of J Premier Pitch and J 4Turf will become Nigel’s main weapon in the fight against weed ingress and disease.

“Greenest Football Club”  choose Johnsons

“Greenest Football Club” choose Johnsons

Nigel moved from Forest Green’s training facility to take up his new position at The New Lawn Ground in June 2020, which he maintains alongside a recently appointed apprentice. “The maintenance methods are very different between the training ground and the stadium, with fewer conventional tools and techniques at my disposal in the approach we take to issues such as weed and disease control” he explains. After being described by FIFA as ‘the greenest football club in the world’ and becoming the first UN certified carbon-neutral football club, it’s out with chemicals and in with cultural practices – including regular overseeding.

“Johnsons J Premier Pitch has proven itself to deliver fantastic resistance to disease, great appearance and plant strength at our training ground and at many of the country’s other leading sports venues, so achieving that is going to be key moving forwards in maintaining surface quality and health at the stadium.” One of Nigel’s first projects was a major drainage installation programme, the recovery from which saw 20 bags of J Premier Pitch oversown on The New Lawn pitch. “It’s first usage at the stadium and it germinated in 6 or 7 days and we conducted the first cut at just over 2 weeks – it was fantastic.”

“We will then compliment the J Premier Pitch with Johnsons J 4Turf mixture, with tetraploid perennial rye which works well for winter overseeding. This will help to give us some additional strength in high wear areas such as the goal mouths as well as give us a fighting chance to repair any damage or bare patches through the cooler months.” Tetraploid Perennial Ryegrass establishes rapidly under cooler soil temperatures, as low as 4oc. It provides enhanced root development and is proven to deliver exceptional natural genetic disease resistance, reducing the need for costly fungicides by demonstrating exceptional tolerance to a broad range of environmental stresses.

Nigel concludes, “From previous experience, I trust that Johnsons will put us in the best possible position in terms of retaining all-important coverage and plant strength to help resist weed ingress and cope with disease pressure as and when it returns.”

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Football club hit by vandals

Football club hit by vandals: A reward has been offered for information on the vandals who damaged a football pitch on Christmas Day.

Leysdown Football Club’s ground in Shellness Road on Sheppey was targeted by vandals sometime last Wednesday when tyre tracks were left in the grass.

Football club hit by vandals

It has led to bosses from fellow Island club, Sheppey United, putting up a £500 reward for any information which leads to the prosecution of the offender.

Leysdown FC manager Charles Osmond said his father and one of the club’s groundsmen, John Osmond, came across the tyre marks in the evening after Charlie had inspected it earlier in the day.

The 22-year-old said: “The pitch is ruined which is a real shame because my dad does a lot of work down there.

“We are probably going to have to postpone fixtures or find another ground to play on.

“Unfortunately there is not a lot of surveillance down there.

“I was more gutted to be fair, a lot of the players were angry because the groundsmen spend about five to six days a week there making sure we’ve got nice fields to play on.

“Leysdown is like the place that time forgot so why they chose to use our pitch is beyond me.”

In the past, the club’s changing block has been targeted by vandals and dugouts smashed up.

The cost of the damage caused to the pitch has not yet been estimated.

It is not yet known for certain if any of the team’s fixtures, including those later this week will have to be called off or postponed because of the damage.

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Binfield Football Club vandalised

Binfield Football Club vandalised: Vandals hit Binfield Football Club on Saturday night leaving tyre tracks on the pitches at Hill Farm Lane.

The Moles, who had earlier won through to the Third Round of the FA Vase following a 3-1 win at home to Redhill, discovered the damage to pitch 2 at the club when chairman Bob Bacon arrived for kids Soccer School on Sunday morning.

Binfield Football Club vandalised

A post on social media from Binfield said: “Our pitch two after a night of gits racing around it. They have no idea of the cost of repair or the inconvenience this costs us.”

Mr Bacon said: “We do Soccer School on pitch one so that was fine. It was the time it took to investigate, get our groundsman down, take the photos, talk with the neighbours, check the facility, call it in to the police. I did no coaching at all today.

“It’s soul destroying.”

If you have any information about the vandalism, please contact Thames Valley Police.

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Football Focus On The North-West

Football Focus On The North-West: At Burnley FC’s Barnfield Training Ground, the Premier League club’s first order for John Deere machinery from local dealership Balmers GM has bedded in at what is reportedly Britain’s first football facility of its kind.

The 10ha Barnfield site includes 15 pitches altogether, including four full-size Desso and a 60 x 40m goalkeeper area in the first team zone, plus three and a half full-size Fibresand surfaces and two full-size natural soil pitches (topped up with sand over the years) in the Academy areas. The site also includes a full-size outdoor Desso 3G and indoor Desso 60 x 40m 3G. All pitches are split up into sizes appropriate for different age ranges and all feature full drainage, with Rainbird irrigation systems throughout the site.

Football Focus On The North-West

Head groundsman Barry O’Brien leads a nine-strong team and has witnessed plenty of changes in his 11 years here, the latest his own doing. After lengthy spells specifying other major turf machinery brands, Barry thought it was time to try John Deere. Following extensive trials, he specified the equipment required to cope with exacting conditions both outside and indoors.

The new tractor and mower fleet meets fresh demands that are centred on changing turfcare practices at the ground. For example, gone is the early ‘fluffy’ cut after the team fitted different rollers and adopted a more aggressive maintenance regime of raking out and brushing. “We had a grass factory here, generating far too much growth,” says Barry. “It would challenge any kit, but we’re fine now after adapting the way we do things.”

Balmer’s golf & turf area manager Andrew Meeks, whose family are Clarets fans (although he supports Liverpool!), agrees: “We’ve grown with each other over the years, so it was just a question of responding to Barry’s needs and supplying them, while working closely with the team to deliver the results they wanted.” Barry adds: “In doing that, we’ve developed a trusted relationship that has also helped us to expand our knowledge base.”

John Deere’s all-purpose X950R commercial lawn tractor with rear collection has been proving a deal-maker nationally, and Barry O’Brien’s assessment is no exception. “The machine is very good at sucking up pitch debris across the site as well as leaves off our top pitch, which lies next to National Trust woodland,” he says.

“The X950R is one of the best of its kind anywhere, and fits perfectly into the different approaches our grounds team is taking with football pitches – lighter rolling, clearing out and raking. Also, it stands the grass up so that cutting is more effective and reduces the risk of matting. We’d like another one of them, especially fitted with slick tyres.”

Barry also sees the value of his three 7700A PrecisionCut cylinder mowers in this environment. “They serve the football application just as well as they do golf. Obviously the sports differ, but in many ways they lend themselves to similar machinery applications. The customised grass boxes and nylon rollers are also major benefits.”

With Burnley manager Sean Dyche casting an eagle eye over pitch presentation, the last thing needed is turf machinery making the wrong impression. Used for heavier duty tasks such as hauling sprayers and fertiliser spreaders, the John Deere 4049R compact tractor sports Galaxy turf tyres that fit the bill for the bigger pitches, leaving the manager with little cause for complaint. “He loves the softer tyres – they have a big footprint but leave no imprint on the turf,” says Barry.

Additional 1026R and 2036R compact tractors serve as all-rounders, moving indoors to pull drag brushes and other kit that the team uses to maintain the Desso cross-knit pitch. As Barry adds: “It’s not just about the machinery but what you do with the turf between times that allows you to achieve the best results and benefits. That said, I saw the brilliant back-up we were getting from Balmers and the team’s confidence in the kit, and knew the combination would win through.”

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Fantasy Football Is Back!

Fantasy Football Is Back!: The new Premier League season is almost upon us, which signals the return of the Turf Matters Fantasy Football league, sponsored by Dennis & SISIS.

Entry into the league is once again FREE of charge with a share of a £500 prize pot up for grabs.

Fantasy Football Is Back!

Simply create your team at https://fantasy.premierleague.com and then register your details with us here to enter. Upon completion of the entry form we will send you our unique code which will allow you to join the league and take part in the competition.

PRIZES

Prizes will be issued at the end of the season in the form of Love2shop high street vouchers:

POSITION PRIZE MONEY
1st Place £250
2nd Place £100
3rd Place £50
4th Place £25
5th Place £20
6th Place £15
7th Place £10
8th Place £10
9th Place £10
10th Place £10

Good luck!

Thief Steals Football Lawnmower

Thief Steals Football Lawnmower: A local football club that has had to endure a traumatic season off this pitch has been dealt another blow.

Boston Town FC have been dealt a huge blow off the pitch as their Ransom 2 wheeled lawnmower was stolen from the ground on Tuesday May 28.

Thief Steals Football Lawnmower

Other equipment used to maintain the pitch – a strimmer and a cutter were also taken.

Chairman Mick Vines has spoken of his frustration after a traumatic season off the pitch for the United Counties Premier Division side.

He told Lincolnshire Live: “It’s a massive kick in the teeth for a club the size of ours.

“We’ve had a difficult season off the pitch, we had to pay £32,000 to our landlord.

“We’ve also had to raise £15,000 to spend on floodlights.

“The amount of money we’ve raised over the past season was amazing and to be hit with another problem it really is hard to take.

“We’re at the part of the year where we should be looking forward to next season and looking to improve.

“The lawnmower weighs in the region of three quarters of a tonne, I find it hard to believe that nobody has seen anything.”

Mick said that the police are involved and they’re hoping that someone knows what happened.

He said: “Our groundsman was at the ground at 7.30am and shuts the main gates every night.

“When he got there this morning the main gates were swinging open and when he got closer he noticed the container doors were wide open.

“Someone must have seen something.”

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Fantasy Football Winners

Fantasy Football Winners: The Premier League Season is now over for another year, and with it brings the conclusion of the 2018/19 Turf Matters Fantasy Football League.

In a season where the Premier League title race was fiercely contested right to the wire, the Turf Matters Fantasy Football league was won by a much more convincing margin.

Our top prize goes to Ossie Rowland, who was crowned league champion with an outstanding points tally of 2520, winning the league by a whopping 222 points, and ranking just 38th in the whole of England.

Stu Dunn finished a respectable runner-up with 2298 points, whilst Craig Williams completed the top 3 with a score of 2291.

Congratulations to all of our top 10 prize winners.

Place

Team Name

Manager

Prize Money

1

Highway to Pell

Ossie Rowland

£250

2

God Bless The Freaks Stu Dunn

£100

3

KDFC

Craig Williams

£50

4

The Wizard of Özil

Chris Lynch

£25

5

Thats what she Sedge

Chris Sedgwick

£20

6

D-Boy Utd

D Boy

£15

7

Porter Vale

Alex Porter

£10

8

Game of throw ins

Mike Sage

£10

9

Scorpio Rising FC

Tom Clayton

£10

10

Doomed FC

Alastair Cuthbert

£10

Turf Matters would like to thank all those who took part in this season’s competition, along with league sponsors Dennis & SISIS.

If you were one of the lucky ones to make our top 10, please email sinead@turfmatters.co.uk by 5pm on Friday 31st May to claim your prize. All prizes will be sent via post within 30 days of the closing date.