Meet the expert: Zoltán Laczkó, Head Groundsman at Groupama Arena
ESSMA interviewed Zoltán Laczkó, Head Groundsman at Groupama Arena. Together with his team, he maintains a high-quality pitch all-year round.
Which heating system is installed under the pitch?
It is an undersoil heating system based on gas, which we start using when the temperature drops below 10C°. This season we’ll probably use the heating system, based on the weather forecast, from October until the end of March. In the beginning we will only need to use it during nighttime but when the temperature continues to drop, we’ll start using it constantly.
“As Groupama Arena is a multifunctional venue, it is important that we can have a quick change-over of the pitch.”
How many people are working in the pitch department?
Our groundsteam consists of two permanent groundsmen and me who are responsible for maintaining a high-quality pitch on a daily basis. On matchdays, we’re looking for maximum 7 additional staff members to prepare the pitch itself and to repair it as much as possible during halftime.
What are the main challenges you and your team are facing?
First of all the Hungarian weather is not beneficial for pitch maintenance. In addition, the composition of the sod pitch is not optimal as the Kentucky bluegrass is not the best rooting grass to achieve deep roots and consistent pitch coverage.
“Our aim is to ,once again, receive a 5-star quality pitch rating for the upcoming season.”