14 Wembley - IOG Position

Wembley - IOG Position

Dear Dave

I have seen the discussion and articles on Pitchcare regarding the IOG and the advertisement for the Wembley Head Grounds Manager position. The facts of the situation are actually as follows:

The IOG was not consulted by Wembley in any way whatsoever in relation to this appointment, on the content of the advertisement, or on the salary, and neither is it to be involved in the interviewing process. We assume therefore that they have received the necessary technical advice and other guidance from other specialist sources within the industry. We note also that they are using recruitment consultants from outside the industry in order to fill both this and other positions at the Stadium.

We only became aware of the impending appointment when I was asked by Wembley whether I would be willing to be quoted in a press release that they wished to issue regarding the fact that the position was about to be recruited for. I agreed to this and a day or two later, whilst at our conference, received a mobile phone call from Wembley PR asking me to agree over the phone a form of words that they had prepared. The release was due to go out that afternoon. I had no problem at all with the words and stand by them totally within the context of their use as they had requested in relation specifically to the Wembley press release - the remaining content of which I was not made aware of at the time and which I assume had therefore not yet been completed . I have subsequently seen the quite satisfactory release and see that Rob Everett from STRI was also quoted in relation to the appointment. I was also told that the next edition of The Groundsman was to be used for the trade industry advertisement related to the position. Understandably pleased that our magazine was to be used, I therefore made Mike Beardall aware of the forthcoming ad - hence his editorial reference which, again, we stand by in the context used. As I was then away for 10 days immediately after the conference I did not in fact see the advertisement and was therefore unaware of the its actual content until after my return.

It is obviously unfortunate, however, that by virtue of my earlier statement in the Wembley press release, the publication of the ad in The Groundsman, and Mike's editorial reference to it, totally erroneous but perhaps understandable conclusions have been made by some that the IOG had therefore both been consulted by, and is working directly with, Wembley on this appointment. This is certainly not the case.

The question has also been raised, however, as to whether the IOG should have refused to publish the advertisement on the grounds of its apparently low salary. As is the case with any magazine, our position is that it is not up to the IOG as publishers, or Deesons as our advertising and publishing agents, to approve or reject the content of any bona fide advertisement submitted for publication unless it is patently misleading, fraudulent or libellous. Obviously this was not the case. Furthermore, such non-publication would actually have deprived the Groundsman readership of their only opportunity to see the advertisement in their own industry trade press, and therefore to make their own decision as to whether they wished to apply for it or not. We also understand that it had previously been published in The Guardian.

So what do we think of the salary quoted? On the face of it, the basic salary would certainly appear to be low in relation to the particularly high profile of the role. However we cannot comment with any authority because, as stated above, we have no knowledge of the particular job specification, the actual responsibilities, budgets, the staffing numbers, any external technical assistance that is to be provided, the value of the additional benefits package and any bonus arrangements, or any accommodation or housing assistance - nor, we assume, does anyone else who is passing comment on the salary level. These are all highly relevant factors. The remuneration package is of course a matter for the employer and the chosen candidate to negotiate privately and to their mutual satisfaction - and I am sure that in the end this will be the case.

Have Wembley been made aware of our views and the concerns being expressed? Yes, they have. Having taken note of our views they did however also politely point out that, as the employer, it is their decision as to what is paid and the final package, whatever it may be, will be negotiated between them and their chosen candidate - and no others.

Kind regards,

Pat Gosset

Chief Executive
The Institute of Groundsmanship

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