Pre-match warm ups - Football League response
Following on from our dialogue with Jim Ashworth, the Football League's National Group Manager for the Playing Surfaces Committee, regarding the Groundsman of the Year Award, I took the opportunity to raise the issue of pre-match warm ups. For many of our groundsmen at professional clubs, the increasingly excessive nature of warm ups is one of their major concerns. In some cases there have been reports that the warm ups are doing more damage than the matches themselves
I asked Jim to explain the official stance on the matter. His reply is as follows:-
"In respect of pr-match warm ups by players and match officials our Committee has previously addressed the issue with club groundsmen. The advice was that groundsmen should initially seek some agreement with their own manager and then to mark off those areas that are 'off limits' pre-match, goal areas are one such area that receives excessive use. It is also in each club's interest that their own pitch not only looks good but provides the best possible surface, the working relationship between each groundsman and their secretary/chief executive should provide such support.
I am aware of my involvement with match officials that pre, and in some cases, post match warm ups are here to stay, we feel that the Groundsman must be responsible for the warm ups to be conducted in the best possible areas."
There you have it. The groundsman is responsible for deciding where the warm ups are held. Unfortunately, the official stance does not deal with the excessive nature of some pre-match warm ups, so Pitchcare have decided to step in.
For the coming season, we will be setting up a league table of pre and post match warm ups. We will name the teams who are the worst culprits and the individuals (player or official) who inflict the most damage.
So, get ready to send in your nominations. It should make interesting reading.