Pop concerts, tennis tournaments, speedway racing, monster truck displays, dinner parties, boot fairs, exhibitions and conferences…These are just some of the more popular events that groundsmen throughout the UK have to deal with as an increasing number of sporting venues seek to maximise income. But how do groundsmen manage to maintain first-class surfaces in their multi-use stadia?
This year’s Institute of Groundsmanship’s Industry Conference (SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff, on November 25), will set out to answer that question – and more - in panel debate featuring Chris Hague (Parken Stadium, Denmark), George Mullen (sports surface constructor, SIS), Dean Gilasbey (Llanelli Scarlets – “I used to work on a pitch that had over 200 sessions in one season”) and IOG Award winner Dan Duffy (Liberty Stadium, Swansea – “I assume the role of ‘pitch health & safety officer when a concert is planned”).
‘The challenges of multi-use stadia’ session is just one of the not-to-be-missed presentations at the IOG Conference, which will be opened by Huw Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Sport Wales, and followed with a Keynote address by Ian Ritchie, Chief Executive Officer of the All England Lawn Tennis Club and Director, Wembley National Stadium.
As well as providing an exclusive insight into two of the world’s most iconic sports venues, Ian will discuss how grounds management is perceived at the highest level of sports administration, and present tips and advice on how the industry can improve its status.
Then the ‘young guns’ of UK groundscare - Stuart Wilson, Christian Brain, Rory Ferguson and Iestyn John – will form the ‘Back to the Future’ Young IOG panel, inviting audience questions about, for instance, pay/reward, training and education, performance quality standards and the future of industry bodies.
From Cranfield University, Dr Iain James will present on the impact of climate change and the likely affects on sports facilities in the UK. If you are responsible for any sports facility - whether privately owned, in the public sector or a local sports club - this is a session you cannot afford to ignore.
Switching attention to the activities of trans-Atlantic colleagues, delegates will be given an exclusive insight into the training and stadium facilities for the Denver Broncos American football team, managed by Troy Smith CSFM, President-Elect of the Sports Turf Managers Association of America.
The Conference also welcomes from Leeds Rhinos and the sport of Rugby League one of the industry’s finest professional groundsmen, Jason Booth. He will present an entertaining rundown of his life at Headingley Carnegie Stadium (winner of the 2009 IOG Award for Best Spectator Sports Ground of the Year) and how he and his team maintain playing surfaces for all-year-round sport – focusing on, for instance, the pressure on resources and, of course, groundscare routines.
In the ‘From Cricket to Football’ session, Martin Ford and Len Smith of the IOG will outline the lessons learned from cricket in the development of Performance Quality Standards (PQS) and how this has been trialled for football in partnership with the Welsh FA.
Martin and Len will discuss their close work with the Welsh FA, explaining how the PQS methodology is being used to identify (and therefore progress) pitch quality at football grounds throughout Wales.
Combined with a study tour of the SWALEC Stadium - the home of Glamorgan County Cricket Club – SWALEC’s Head Groundsman Keith Exton will also discuss a ‘day in his life’ during the build up to an Ashes Test.
The day’s schedule will also include drop-in clinics focusing on Pests and diseases, Risks in the workplace, Training & Education and Funding & Facilities.
To add to the value-for-money event – which will be ‘hosted’ by leading sports presenter Mark Saggers of talkSPORT Radio and followed in the evening by the prestigious IOG Industry Awards – delegates will also have the opportunity, on Wednesday November 24, to tour the Celtic Manor golf complex, the venue for this year’s Ryder Cup.
The 2010 IOG Industry Conference is sponsored by British Sugar Topsoil, ESD Waste2Water, Rigby Taylor and Syngenta.
For more information about programme content, booking details and the attractive package deals, visit www.iog.org/www.iogawards.com