The Grounds Management Association has launched a new set of standards for natural turf in sports. The Grounds Management Framework (GMF) – released at an event in March – has been designed to support the understanding of how to maintain natural turf sports surfaces.
As natural turf requires appropriate maintenance and care in order to support the range of sports played on them, the GMF will highlight the importance of grounds management.
The framework is simple to understand and is aimed at those working in sport but who have limited knowledge of groundskeeping – such as volunteers and those responsible for running grassroots clubs and organisations.
The framework will ensure that those responsible for pitches are aware of the characteristics, resources, skills and knowledge required for their playing surface, and how to progress to the next level.
The combination of the UK climate and the reliance on natural grass pitches means that, each winter, thousands of football games across the country are called off due to unplayable pitches.
GMA CEO, Geoff Webb said: “We know that, with improved surfaces, almost 2 million more children would benefit.
“Our work is focused on getting the best for the industry and highlighting the hard work, knowledge and skill that goes into making sport possible.
“This framework will make it clearer for people inside and outside of the industry, from club chairs to stadium managers, to understand what it takes to prepare playing surfaces at all levels and will better support matching training and experience to quality of playing surfaces.”
The document has been developed by the GMA and sports consultant, Tim Nicholls.
“The GMF has taken a lot of work and time to get it to where it is today,” said Nicholls.
“It will play an essential role in innovative new strategies to improve our pitches, through programmes like PitchPower.
“I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes our industry, and its place in sport, over the coming years.”