The Groundsman

March 2015

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COMMENT 3 the Groundsman March 2015 Visit www.iog.org for more information and digital editions record £5.1 billion TV rights deal was announced last month. The new agreement, which starts at the end of next season, is worth 70 per cent more than the last deal. Sky will show 126 live matches – including 10 in a new Friday night slot, which means that each Premier League game is worth £10.2 million. While most will be drawn to these high figures, the one that catches the eye is the introduction of Friday night football. Indeed there is now more pressure on ground staff to prepare pitches for virtually every day of the week. This adds to Monday night football, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for European football and then there is Saturday and Sunday for the Premier League itself. Add in the FA Cup, the Capital One Cup (formerly The Football League Cup) and less well-known Under 21s League and the FA Under 18s Youth Cup - all will throw up new challenges for the groundsmen who maintain the pitches. However, it can be argued that with such a global interest in the Premier League, the groundsman's reputation gained by the quality of the pitches offers great opportunities, indeed both Paul Burgess who moved from Arsenal to Real Madrid and Jonathan Calderwood from Aston Villa to Paris St Germain are testament to this. On the other side of the coin however, what part of the funds generated by the TV rights deals will benefit groundsmen directly? Only time will tell, but in the meantime as the working week is extended pressure both at work and at home becomes greater. Regarding further investment in club training facilities, such as the recently opened Manchester City Academy, will the clubs invest at the right levels when it comes to the vital issue of turf management? It is also hoped that the new income stream will filter down to grassroots sport and will certainly offer a welcome boost if it does. With the IOG's newly-created Grounds and Natural Turf Improvement Programme coming up to the end of the first year of national governing body investment, it is clear that there is a lot of work to be done and further ongoing investment required to bring local grounds to a level and standard that you can play a decent game of football on. While the programme may not have the type of funding that the Premier League commands, it may well prove to have a greater impact. Geoff Webb, Chief Executive, The Institute of Groundsmanship Does groundsmanship benefit from global interest in the Premier League? A It can be argued that with such a global interest in the Premier League the groundsman's reputation gained by the quality of the pitches offers great opportunities, indeed both Paul Burgess who moved from Arsenal to Real Madrid and Jonathan Calderwood from Aston Villa to Paris St Germain are testament to this " " Contributors Karen Maxwell Managing editor Colin Hoskins Features editor Lea Duzi Member of IOG CR Board Steve Dolman Author of the award- winning Peakfan's Blog Christopher Bassett Managing director, Fusion Media

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