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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.

 

Media Release from Sutherland Shire Council

Fox looking to add virtual fans to broadcast

Virtual fans

Fox in the United States is looking to add fans into their coverage even with empty stadiums, using virtual reality (VR) technology.

According to the New York Post, the media company, along with fellow broadcasters ESPN, NBC, CBS and Turner Sports, are seeking to improve the fan experience at home by bringing in VR technology to enhance their viewing of the game.

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As all sporting events are most likely to only be shown behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is an idea that could serve a valuable purpose for the foreseeable future until it’s safe for spectators to return in mass gatherings.

Fox broadcaster Joe Buck has been adamant in suggesting that virtual fans are something we should expect to see, as broadcasters work out the best way to implement it.

Speaking on SiriusXM’s Andy Cohen Live, the addition of fake crowd noise could add some extra excitement to contests.

“[Virtual fans is] pretty much a done deal,” Buck said.

“I think whoever is going to be at that control is going to have to be really good at their job and be realistic with how a crowd would react depending on what just happened on the field. So it’s really important.

“And then on top of that … They’re looking at ways to put virtual fans in the stands, so when you see a wide shot it looks like the stadium is jam-packed and in fact it’ll be empty.”

The German Bundesliga recently restarted between closed doors, but there was definitely an eerie feeling without the atmosphere.

If you watched the derby between Dortmund vs Schalke, there is potential for crowd noise to be filtered through around the PA systems, as each of Dortmund’s goals were followed by chants by the intimidating yellow wall.

With crowd noise absent completely, it could hinder a club’s dominance at home with familiar comforts, or remove just a little bit of normality during these strange times.

As we’ve seen with Fox, they would just like to make games seem as though it’s like the old times, despite adding the technology being a challenge.

2023 Women’s World Cup: Host to be announced June 25

Australia and New Zealand will find out whether they will host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in under six weeks’ time.

FIFA have confirmed the successful candidate will be announced on June 25, following a vote by their council.

Alongside the joint Australian and New Zealand bid, Brazil, Colombia and Japan are still in the running to host the 2023 event.

“We believe that our proven ability to deliver the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 is a key strength of our bid,” FFA Chairman Chris Nikou said.

“Our world-class infrastructure, modern stadia, high-quality football facilities in both Australia and New Zealand and major event hosting experience ensure certainty in delivering the first 32 team FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“From operational excellence, record-breaking crowds, commercial success, strong government support, a warm embrace from our 200 diverse cultures to a genuine profound legacy across the Asia-Pacific region, Australia-New Zealand offers certainty in uncertain times, as well as impact,” he said.

New Zealand Football President Johanna Wood said: “Our proposal offers FIFA a ground-breaking approach to hosting its greatest women’s tournament.  We are two nations from two confederations, united in proposing a historic and exciting step forward for world football.

“We will be a tournament of firsts. The first ever co-Confederation hosted FIFA World Cup, the first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in the Asia-Pacific region, and the first ever to be held in the southern hemisphere.

“And as important as all of this, we are nations proud of our commitment to equality and fairness and would embody a FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 built on common humanity through football.

“As the world looks to adapt and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, our bid offers an exciting vision to bring the world together As One in 2023 to celebrate women’s football and inspire women and girls around the world,” she concluded.

Stuart Hodge addresses future for Football NSW

Stuart Hodge

Football NSW Chief Executive Officer Stuart Hodge has addressed key topics on the association’s radar in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking on the CDSFA Community Football Podcast, Hodge is keen for the league to restart as soon as it’s safe to do so.

“I certainly think the government have to take in a lot of factors as we’ve seen with the pandemic – anything can change one day to the next,” he said.

“It was a positive step forward that they’ve got the national principles and the government and NSW will now review those and look at guidelines.

“They’ll have to balance that up with other information that they have and state-specific information here in NSW.

“We’re hopeful given that from some of the surveys which we’ve seen that most people are keen to get out and play again.

“The physical, mental and social benefits are well documented, but we have to make sure we do it under the right conditions and that is when the government says it’s okay.”

The flow on effect of the competition’s postponement will be how clubs juggle summer sports with councils if they clash later down the line, something Hodge is aware of.

“It’s a challenge for all of them and we’re in discussions with some summer sports to try and get some principles in place that if we get football resumed, we’ll have some additional time beyond what we normally get,” he said.

“From some associations, the feedback is from councils have been very sympathetic.

“We’ve collectively lost a couple months of the season already so the opportunity to play a little bit later into the year would be welcomed.

“We’re also conscious that we want to try and keep things on track for next year when hopefully we return on time.

“It’s a balance because we appreciate that there’s also participants that are involved in multiple sports so we’re wanting to help them out and not over-burden them.

“Councils also need to turn fields around although I noticed some of them looking magnificent at the moment.

“We’ve had some very big discussions and hopefully it’s just a fair and reasonable approach which is all we’re asking for.”

One of the main issues across all sports due to postponements has been the topic of refunds, with games in professional sport being played behind closed doors.

While there’s still the unknown about when fans can return to grounds in 2020 and beyond, Hodge has clarified how Football NSW will look to navigate through this tricky time.

“I think in the interim if people are facing financial hardship then of course they should be in touch with their club to get a refund,” Hodge said.

“If the season gets underway then we’ll have to redo our modelling and look at what the fee structures are.

“I hope we do get back on the field and we can go down that path – if the season doesn’t get played then everyone will have to sit and remodel what the costs are and things like that.”

Since this podcast was published on 5th May, Football NSW have moved a step closer to resuming training at the very least with the NSW Government confirming an easing of restrictions – taking affect from Friday 15th May including:

  • outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people
  • cafes and restaurants can seat 10 patrons at any one time
  • up to 5 visitors to a household at any one time
  • weddings up to 10 guests
  • indoor funerals up to 20 mourners, outdoor funerals up to 30
  • religious gatherings/places of worship up to 10 worshipers
  • use of outdoor equipment with caution
  • outdoor pools open with restrictions.

In a recent press release, it’s mentioned the Office of Sport is working closely with government agencies about how sporting organisations can safely return to action.

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