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Hybrid Pitch Brings New Life To Sporting Field

In a first for Sutherland Shire, Harrie Dening Football Centre at Kareela is trialling a new hybrid turf that will provide a consistent playing surface all year round.

The hybrid surface consists of synthetic grass that is stitched into natural turf and has proven to increase stability and deliver considerably more playing hours than traditional grass fields. This is especially important for high-traffic areas like goal mouths and cricket pitches.

Sutherland Shire Council is collaborating with Sutherland Shire Football Association to trial the hybrid grass system on one of the lower field goal areas.

Hybrid grass playing fields not only stay healthier for longer, they also hold less heat than full synthetic pitches. This means greater availability to the community, especially during the hot summer months. As an added bonus, maintenance costs of the hybrid fields are also significantly lower than full synthetic facilities.

Sutherland Shire Council Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce said this new hybrid grass system would mean that more games could be played on the field, increasing the field use capacity without as much damage to the grass.

“Sport is such a strong part of our local identity and with increasing demand placed on our playing fields, Council is committed to supporting the continued use of our parks and reserves to meet the needs of our growing population,” Mayor Pesce said.

“We have already been working hard to help our playing fields stand up to the pressure by planting stronger types of grass, utilising better maintenance practices and installing irrigation systems and this new hybrid system should be incredibly beneficial.

“By bringing together synthetic and natural turf, sporting fields will be able to withstand considerably more playing hours each year and recovery time for the grass will be much faster,” Mayor Pesce added.

Sutherland Shire Football Association (SSFA) General Manager, Jeff Stewart said that the SSFA was extremely happy to work collaboratively with Council to trial this initiative.
“As the largest grassroots sporting association, with the highest per capita usage rate per field of any sport in the nation we know all too well how much time and effort is required to maintain the fields at an acceptable standard,” Mr Stewart said.

“We are thankful that Council has looked at viable alternatives to help manage and maintain the existing available green space and Harrie Dening Centre is an ideal location for this product to be trialled.”

Stephen Mallyon, General Manager of G5 Sports Turf, who installed the hybrid turf system, said it has been used across Europe on FIFA and World Rugby approved pitches and he was excited to bring the technology to the Sutherland Shire.

“We have installed SISGrass hybrid cricket pitches on wickets in Brisbane at the Bupa National Cricket Centre for Cricket Australia and QLD Cricket and Adelaide again for Cricket Australia and the South Australian Cricket Association, and also on playing fields at the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sydney University with great success,” Mr Mallyon said.

“SIS Grass has recently been endorsed by ICC, Cricket Australia and the International Hockey Federation and we congratulate Sutherland Shire Council for being the first Council in Australia to trial the system.”

Sutherland Shire Council will monitor the hours of usage and wear on the field with the vision of using hybrid grass systems on other playing fields in the future.

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Acun Medya Group secures Hull City takeover

EFL Championship side Hull City AFC has been purchased by Turkish production company Acun Medya Group, headed by Acun Ilicali.

EFL Championship side Hull City AFC has been purchased by Turkish production company Acun Medya Group, for a fee in the reported region of $37 million AUD.

Acun Ilicali, a 52-year-old businessman and owner of Acun Medya Group, was introduced to fans at the MKM Stadium prior to the club’s 2-0 win at home over Blackburn Rovers.

The takeover brings the controversial ownership of the Allam family to an end, much to the delight of fans after a roller coaster 11 years in charge.

Despite overseeing two promotions to the Premier League, an FA Cup Final and Hull’s first-ever foray into a European competition through the UEFA Europa League in 2014, the Allam family became increasingly unpopular with the fans.

The unpopularity of the Allam family is due to many different reasons, however it all started when the family proposed a name change to ‘Hull Tigers’ back in 2013. The move was ultimately blocked by authorities a year later, which frustrated the Allams and they then put the club up for sale, straining the relationship with fans and seeing a decline in attendances at home fixtures.

The new ownership will look to win back supporters and turn the negative tide.

Acun Medya Group Owner, Acun Ilicali:

“I am happy that I have fulfilled one of my biggest dreams. We are starting a beautiful journey with Hull City. We have many big dreams and goals to achieve together with our fans,” he said.

Outgoing Vice-Chairman Ehab Allam:

“During our tenure, we have worked hard to create a sustainable model and successful academy set-up, giving the club the foundations it needs for the future,” he said.

“There have been lots of ups and downs over the last 11 years or so, but we will take some very fond memories with us… We have taken a very business-led approach to running the club and I truly hope Acun can rebuild the relationship with the fanbase and also bring back the success on the pitch that fans crave and deserve.”

Hertha Berlin pushing hard for stadium upgrade

Top-flight German football club Hertha Berlin has reiterated its intention to develop a new stadium nearby to the Olympiastadion.

Top-flight German football club Hertha Berlin has reiterated its intention to develop a new stadium nearby to its current home, the Olympiastadion, releasing fresh renderings of its vision for such a project.

The club has been attempting to progress plans to develop a new home for several years and in February 2020 stated that the OlympiaPark would be the preferred location.

In November 2018, Hertha confirmed it was targeting an opening date in July 2025 for a new-look Olympiastadion, with preference to be building a completely new stadium rather than renovating the current one.

The current Olympiastadion has been home to Hertha Berlin for almost 60 years, and has a capacity of around 74,000. However, the club is seeking a more intimate stadium for its fans, as well as the inclusion of an athletics track.

Hertha’s former stadium commissioner, Klaus Teichert, withdrew an application for a decision to be made on the location for a new stadium, with Brandenburg also put forward as a potential location.

Hertha Berlin Chief Financial Officer, Ingo Schiller:

“We have entered into talks with the new government and are working hard to set the course for our new stadium in 2022,” he said.

“The stadium is the club’s most important project, especially in terms of the economic situation.”

There is a lot of political support necessary for the project to get approved, as the potential worksite currently includes residential apartments, a big reason for negotiations coming to a stall at times.

A resident spoke to local radio station rbb24:

“You talk about ir, but not with us. We are still not prepared to sell our apartments in Sportforumstraße or to negotiate about them,” they said.

“It is very unfortunate that our residents in Sportforumstraße are once again unsettled by this uncoordinated approach.”

Hertha Berlin and backers of the new stadium have been in negotiation with Berlin’s sports senator, Iris Spranger, with talks to continue over the next month.

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