DEPARTURES & 3G ADVICE
Constant developments in the industry
You will notice in today's Turf Pro two high profile departures from the very top level of sports surface preparation in the UK.
Alan Ferguson of the FA and Greg Bolton of the London Stadium, who have both reached the very pinnacles of their profession, have both chosen to leave their positions.
This follows last week's news that Tom Parker had chosen to walk away from his role as Head Curator of the Sydney Cricket Ground after 20 years.
Whilst not wanting to intrude on the no-doubt very private, and quite likely, very different reasons why each of these highly skilled men have chosen to step away from their respective employers, I think it would be fair to assume that amongst other things, each of them would have been dealing with intense pressure and scrutiny.
Pressure and scrutiny from both the viewing public, from players and from the internal politics which run their places of work.
One hopes we don’t start to see a pattern of high-profile departures of this nature and that employers and industry bodies are there to offer support and assistance to individuals who need it.
I'm sure we haven't heard the last from any of these talented guys though. The industry is a better place for their participation. So best of luck to them all with whatever path they chose to pursue next
In other news, good to see an issue being addressed this week, which has caused concern and confusion for many - that of the use of rubber crumb infil in 3G artificial pitches.
A 'position statement' has been released by a collaboration of key stakeholders in response to questions regarding these third generation surfaces.
The stakeholders comprise: Department for Culture Media & Sport, Defra, Sport England, The FA, RFL, RFU, England Hockey, the Football Foundation, SAPCA and the IOG.
The statement reads:
"Third generation or 3G artificial grass pitches are recognised as durable, safe, year-round playing surfaces, able to withstand intensive use and all kinds of weather. They mean more people can benefit from all the associated social and health benefits of physical activity.
"Concerns have, however, been raised about the safety associated with these pitches and their constituent parts, most commonly the presence of rubber crumb. We take these concerns very seriously.
"We have monitored numerous independent scientific studies on this issue, which have reported a very low/negligible level of concern for human health as a result of 3G pitches and rubber crumb.
Indeed, the European Chemicals Agency has recently published its own findings, following an extensive EU-wide study, and has found no reason to advise people against playing sport on 3G pitches with rubber crumb.
"The Sports and Play Construction Association, the UK trade body for the sports pitch industry, is developing a voluntary industry standard that will provide minimum requirements that go above and beyond what is currently required for rubber crumb under European regulation. Sport England and leading sport governing bodies all support this approach and will continue to work with the industry to provide reassurance that pitches in this country are safe.”
For more detail, the stakeholders have produced a series of frequently asked questions on the use of rubber crumb in 3G pitches. They are keen to stress though that these FAQs are only for 'general guidance' and that they are not to "replace the need for specialist technical advisors on specific sites/projects or concerns".
So whilst its to be applauded that the issue is being addressed, I guess where on-going scientific investigation is concerned, it has to be case of continually watching this space.