The IOG Czech Republic Branch’s successful two-day Conference in February was attended by more than 160 groundsmen plus representatives from Czech and other companies. The first day’s seminars were followed on day two by a visit to the stadium and training complex of Slovan Liberec, a First League club, where there was also a small exhibition of machinery, writes Branch chairman Michal Kotan.
Included on the first day were presentations by IOG chief executive Geoff Webb, who discussed the findings of the IOG’s 2019 research ‘Groundsmanship – sport’s vital profession’, while consultant Krzysztof Puzio talked about testing of pitch quality, Forrest Scott from SubAir Systems presented ‘new technology for stadia’ and Mick Higgins from Sibelco Co discussed ‘suitable sands for turf’. In addition, the equipment suppliers – SISIS and SGL, for example - also presented their products. IOG member Patrik Kovac, the groundsman at City Arena Trnava in Slovakia, shared his experience of managing his hybrid grass pitch, and the UK’s Keith Kent outlined his many years of work. The Branch also announced its 2019 groundscare awards:
 Pitch of the Year, First League - FK Mladá Boleslav Football Club;
 Pitch of the Year, Second League - FC Vysocina Jihlava Football Club;
 Groundsman of the Year - Jakub Cajnak, SFC Opava Football Club;
 Lifetime Achievements - Jan Chladil, technical director at Sigma Olomouc Stadium and Miloslav Zeman, groundsman, Slovan Liberec Football Club.
Photo: Slovan Liberec stadium