DFL Pitch Workshop at Allianz Arena: the Highlights
On the 5th and 6th of September, the Deutsche Fussball Liga (DFL) organised a pitch workshop for pitch managers of the first and second German professional leagues. The event aimed to exchange knowledge and discuss upcoming trends and technologies as well as to award the best pitch of last season in first and second division. The Allianz Arena was host for the event, welcoming 58 participants from 32 Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga clubs. ESSMA was invited by the DFL to explain the services Groundsmen could benefit from and invited Reece Watson, Head Groundsman at Emirates Stadium, to share a presentation on data gathering and management.
Tuesday 5th of September
After welcoming words of Oliver Messthaler (FC Bayern Munich), Jürgen Muth (Allianz Arena and ESSMA Advisory Committee Member) and Joachim Baur (DFL), ESSMA presented the dedicated services provided towards Groundsmen, zooming in on the Ask ESSMA tool. Next, Stefan Kirchner gave an overview of extreme weather conditions and how soft- and hardware could analyse and warn both stadium and fans against lighting strikes for example.
To close the first block of the day, Harald Nonn, member of the DFL Expert Commission, focused on the Clegg Hammer providing insights in methodology, usage and standards. After a group discussion on trends and innovation, where several topics like LED lighting were discussed, participants could visit the pitch of the Allianz Arena.
Wednesday 6th of September
The second day was kicked off with a visit to the brand-new FC Bayern Campus, housing training centre facilities for the youth and women teams of FC Bayern. We will share more information on the Campus in an in-depth video interview with Jürgen Muth.
Afterwards the “Pitch of the Year 2016/17” awards were presented. In the 2. Bundesliga, VfB Stuttgart won the award before 1. FC Heidenheim and VfL Bochum. In the first Bundesliga, Borussia Dortmund finished first before VfL Wolfsburg and RasenBallsport Leipzig.
To close the event, Reece Watson, Head Groundsman of Arsenal FC, presented how he and his team are constantly monitoring and gathering data on the condition of the pitch. After the presentation, participants had the chance to discuss pitch maintenance and renovations, some specific questions will be analysed in upcoming Ask ESSMA requests.
"I would like to thank the DFL and ESSMA for inviting me to an event I thoroughly enjoyed. I would also like to thank Christian from Bayern Munich for his hospitality allowing us to visit the stadium and training ground surfaces. The event had a great turn out from a group who showed willingness to improve and share their experiences with each other. There were some great topics discussed including hardness of pitches, disease control and LED lighting, with opinions from all over the room inputted. These events are a chance to bring everyone together who are working for the same goal. Sharing your experiences, no matter the situation is the only way we can learn and progress as an industry."
Reece Watson, Head Groundsman Arsenal FC