PLAYER UNIONS FIND A WAY TO IMPROVE PITCH QUALITY

PLAYER UNIONS FIND A WAY TO IMPROVE PITCH QUALITY

Rapid Vienna could win it in Austria, while Feyenoord appears to successfully defend its Dutch crown of having the best pitch in the league, rated by the players.

 

Similar contests arranged by FIFPro member unions in Australia, Bulgaria, Denmark and Norway are helping improve the quality of playing surfaces. After each match day, these unions receive a rating from the captains of the away teams for the home side’s pitch based on criteria including smoothness, pace and overall quality. At the end of the season, the unions present an award to the winning groundsmen.

 

“The groundsmen are very competitive,” said Danny Hesp, chairman of Dutch player union VVCS. “They all want to win.” In Norway, the competition is so intense that club groundsmen regularly contact player union NISO to find out the ratings of their pitches, according to NISO project manager Peter Werni.

 

Austrian player union VdF, which launched their competition in 2012, has seen a significant improvement in the quality of pitches. On a scale from 1 (poor) to 10 (magnificent), the average score increased from 6.1 in 2012/2013 to 8.1 for the current season. “We are delighted that we cannot only see the qualitative development of the pitches, but can also prove it with these numbers,” said VdF chairman Gernot Zirngast. The current leader in Austria is Rapid Wien, who moved into a new home last season and initially had problems with their pitch. But not this season, according to the 8.9 average.

 

Dutch union VVCS, the first to introduce such a competition, said the overall quality of pitches has increased, with Feyenoord currently top of the standings. “When we started in 2008, only the clubs at the top of our list had great pitches, but now also the teams further down the rankings have a good pitch,” said Hesp.

 

Source: www.fifpro.org

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