How much attention will you pay to the pitches in the European Football Championships starting this week? Amenity Forum’s latest article below highlights the preparation required to keep the pitches in tip top condition….
The hype has started mounting in Europe this week as we look to this Friday for the kick off of the European Football Championship, but how many watching will comment on the quality of the pitches? Although the fans are only likely to comment when the pitches are worn and starting to look tired, for the England team pitch preparation is vital.
As the team flew out this week and landed in Chantilly to continue their training, it has been reported that the FA have been “demanding” with their requirements even down to including grass seed that has been flown in especially from St George’s Park! The local amateur side US Chantilly who have handed their stadium over to the England squad during their stay in France, not only had a team of English groundsmen descending upon them from the 23rd of May to build the pitch from scratch but also had a pitch specialist from the FA visit them every 15 days to supervise the pitch preparation.
As part of the preparation and the general maintenance programme for the pitches, proper control of weeds, pests and diseases is both important and indeed essential. Without controlling these the pitch grass will not be at the required standard to ensure consistent performance both for training and in the matches themselves. The adverse weather conditions that France have been experiencing in the last week, will also be having an impact, as the warm wet weather will not only encourage diseases but also weed growth will be encouraged.
Control of weed, pests and diseases is crucial for all aspects of public amenity to create safe and sustainable environments. Many football supporters will travel by train to matches. These trains would not run without proper control of weeds on the tracks and surrounds.
The Amenity Forum is taking a lead in communicating the important and essential task of weed, pest and disease control to the public and, as part of that, has produced some one page information leaflets. The first one can be found to on their website about “Producing quality football pitches”.
John Moverley, Chairman of the Amenity Forum, said ‘’We recognise the need to increase public understanding of the reasons for and methods used in controlling weeds, pests and disease in amenity areas. The Euros are a perfect example of how important the control of weed, pest and diseases are within the public’s everyday life. Dedicated professionals, who ensure our public amenity spaces are safe and sustainable for our use, carry out these controls. The tasks involved are both important and essential. I encourage the England fans to take notice of the quality of the pitches in the coming month, and appreciate all the work that has gone into them”.
The Amenity Forum is non-profit making and the independent body bringing together professional organisations with an involvement in the amenity horticulture sector. This is a very diverse industry responsible for the landscape management of urban areas, highways and rail network, sports grounds, parks, industrial and utility sites. To establish and maintain these areas to a high standard, the sector requires access to pesticides, efficient equipment and trained and qualified staff. The organisation was formed in October 2003 as a key action to support the Voluntary Initiative, an industry led project agreed with Government to reduce the environmental impact of pesticides.
The membership comprises of organisations from across this diverse industry, covering manufacturers, suppliers, trade associations, local authorities, major users, landscape, sport and leisure. Equally important are those members who represent training and qualification standards. The key Government agencies have an important observer role. The objectives of the Amenity Forum are:
- To promote and encourage proper and responsible use of pesticides and integrated methods for the control of weeds, pests and disease
- To lead, coordinate and encourage achievement of “Best Practice” objectives in amenity pesticide use
- To coordinate and encourage the establishment of sustainable qualifications, training and CPD activity, specifically for the amenity sector
- To organise activities within the Amenity Forum membership and linked organisations, such that Amenity Forum objectives are developed in a coordinated way
The Amenity Forum conference and exhibition has become a must attend for all with an interest or engagement in weed, pest and disease control. This year’s event will be held at the Pirelli Stadium, Burton on Trent. Well known and authoritative speakers will address topical issues and stimulate discussions on the wide range of issues facing the sector. As the Forum is non-profit making, and with help from supporters, delegate rates have been kept as low as possible at £65, with a £15 discount for bookings before September. Why not book your place now and add your voice and support. The conference programme is available on line at www.amenityforum.co.uk and bookings can be made at [email protected]