3 highlights from ESSMA’s Pitch Management Report
The rise of data gathering in pitch management
In an interview with Paul Baas - Head Grounds Manager at Johan Cruijff ArenA - we learned that data has become a crucial part of pitch management. Our survey also shows that 80% of our participants collect data about their pitch, and they all say this has improved the quality of the pitch.
“We gather data in many different ways, via our weather station or the sensors underneath the pitch for example. We even have infrared technology in our mowing machines to scan the pitch” Paul Baas
5 professional football teams playing on 1 pitch
Since the end of last year, OHL's Kingpower at Den Dreef Stadium temporarily hosts the Belgian National Men's team because of COVID-19, creating a busy schedule with probably 7 or 8 more games than during a regular season. The stadium is already used by OH Leuven’s men’s and women's team as well as the Belgian National U21 and Women's team meaning the stadium is now host to 5 professional football teams.
56% of our survey’s participants say there have been more games in a short period due to COVID-19, with half of them saying it has had a negative effect on the pitch quality. According to the pitch managers, solutions may include:
Better optimisation of calendars
More hybrid pitches
Additional maintenance equipment
Reduced use of herbicides & pesticides for more sustainability
Over the past few years several countries have taken measures to reduce or even ban the use of pesticides & herbicides and it seems likely that these regulations will become even stricter in the future. 86% of our survey’s participants say they have reduced their use of herbicides in the past 3 years with 75% having done so on their own initiative, not because of legislation