ESTO seeks positive decision from Football League

ESTO seeks positive decision from Football League

The European Synthetic Turf Organisation (ESTO) has pledged its commitment to profiling the benefits of synthetic turf in sport, as it champions a positive decision in advance of the Football League’s review into the use of artificial surfaces next month.

The results of the consultation period, which closed on 30 April 2012, will be released as part of a report to all Member Clubs, when the issues will be debated at Football League Board meetings and at the Chairmen’s Conference on 31 May / 01 June 2012.

 

The use of synthetic turf in professional football is prevalent throughout the top tiers of the sport in Italy, Holland and France, as well as European competitions including the Europa League and Champions League; indicative of the backing already in place from both UEFA and FIFA.

 

The option to switch to using synthetic turf does not only guarantee a better playing surface in terms of its consistency and quality, but, significantly, meets a requirement which underpins decisions made by the majority of football clubs, that is, the assurance of financial sustainability.

 

A synthetic turf pitch provides clubs with a substantial additional revenue stream, by enabling the use of the pitch and the ground’s facilities for commercial use; consequently, it also facilitates wider engagement between the club and its fans and the local community.

 

Commenting on the impending result from the Football League review, Nigel Fletcher, executive chairman of ESTO, said: “The introduction of synthetic turf within professional football is not only of positive significance to the club itself, but also for a country’s football development strategy; Holland and Italy are just two affirmative examples of this.

“As one of the world’s leading footballing nations, the next step is to allow English clubs the option to experience the momentous benefits that can be created by synthetic turf, for both the Football League clubs and the entire non-league structure.”

 

The decision will follow the recent announcement from the Football League that will see the implementation of its own Financial Fair Play regulations across all three divisions, based on the similar rulings already in place by UEFA for teams in the top divisions across Europe.

 

“In the last decade, 23 of the 92 professional clubs in England have entered into some form of administration; eight of which have done so more than once. The introduction of synthetic turf will provide a much-needed financial boost for clubs and a recent report by KPMG, commissioned by ESTO, proves that the business model works,” confirms Nigel Fletcher.

 

“During my time at FIFA and in my capacity as executive chairman of ESTO, I saw many immediate and positive benefits for clubs who switched to synthetic turf; club development enhanced, community initiatives were established and youth development programmes were launched all because of the durability and quality of the playing surface.

“No longer did you need a sign saying ‘keep off the pitch’. The new pitch was the starting point for a club’s sustainable development, both on and off the pitch, and one must not forget that for many smaller clubs, the pitch can be their most important asset,” explains Nigel Fletcher.

 

Rob Heys, chief executive of Football League Two side Accrington Stanley, is one of the long-term advocates of a return to synthetic turf. Commenting on how clubs can benefit from synthetic turf, Rob said: “The commercial benefits of installing a synthetic turf pitch really do stack up as there is an income to be gained from hiring the pitch out and money to be saved in maintenance costs.

 

“The fact we can use the pitch for training as well as the benefit to the community, from getting people down to the ground seven days a week rather than just 23 times a season for home fixtures, would make a massive difference to a club of our size and, I believe, a number of other Football League clubs, all of whom are constantly looking at new ways to generate revenue to continue operating.”

 

 

ESTO will be holding a media briefing today (17/05/12) at the Sofitel, St. James, London. The event will profile the benefits and successes of synthetic turf within sport, in advance of the impending announcement from the Football League next month.

New ESTO publications now available for free download

New ESTO publications now available for free download

ESTO has released two new publications, the ESTO Fans Concept and ESTO Scores, both of which are available for download.

The ESTO Fans Concept has been developed to showcase a wider recognition of the social, cultural and economic value of football clubs combining supporter engagement with a better education of the benefits of synthetic turf. Click here to download the document.

ESTO Scores is a new publication which contains a range of case studies collated from projects across Europe and worldwide, involving football, rugby and multi-sport use facilities. Click here to download the document.

New ESTO publications now available for free download

New ESTO publications now available for free download

ESTO has released two new publications, the ESTO Fans Concept and ESTO Scores, both of which are available for download.

 

The ESTO Fans Concept has been developed to showcase a wider recognition of the social, cultural and economic value of football clubs combining supporter engagement with a better education of the benefits of synthetic turf. Click here to download the document.

 

 

ESTO Scores is a new publication which contains a range of case studies collated from projects across Europe and worldwide, involving football, rugby and multi-sport use facilities. Click here to download the document.

Raising Standards in Zurich

Over 70 delegates from our member companies came together in Zurich recently to discuss the concept of raising standards within the synthetic turf industry and also improvements in the general maintenance of the product.

Ably hosted once again by Robin Russell, the event took place in glorious spring sunshine and involved the presentation of the ESTO ‘Gold Standard’ concept and focussed on working towards a European Quality Mark and regulation and compliance issues.

After group work and a short break members then listened to a most interesting talk from Steve Griffiths from the International Rugby Board on the latest industry development and then the group moved to work together on various activities concerning quality maintenance.

Nigel Fletcher, the ESTO Chairman, then detailed ESTO plans and activities for the remainder of 2011 which amongst many things will include the ESTO Congress in September in the Olympic City, Lausanne, Switzerland and the ESTO Gala Dinner and Awards evening in Cologne, Germany.
An ESTO dinner was held in the evening which offered a valuable opportunity for networking and socialising – an excellent meal in very pleasant surroundings.

The following day saw Geoff Webb, CEO from the Institute of Groundsmanship present an informative talk on introducing new concepts to membership, and the event was brought to conclusion by a well-attended and stimulating discussion, lead by Jon Nash from AMI Plastics, on the business of industry regulation – a topic which generated much interest and at times heated discussion from the membership as the full implication and importance of ESTO’s development plans hit home.

Nigel then brought the event to a close shortly before lunch and the delegates were asked to carefully consider the proposals, and the way forward in time for our upcoming Congress in Lausanne in September. All in all a most enjoyable and informative event.