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FA Tackles Pitch Revival

Mon 19th Nov 2012 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

The Leicestershire arm of the Football Association (FA) has revived the synthetic turf pitch at its county headquarters thanks to synthetic sports surface maintenance company Replay.

Holmes Park, in Whetstone, is the home of Leicestershire & Rutland County FA. Its facilities include a synthetic turf pitch used as a community training pitch for local grassroots clubs, the Leicestershire & Rutland FA Tesco Skills Team and for the delivery of County FA co-ordinated coaching courses and workshops.

Prior to the involvement of Replay the pitch had no surface maintenance plan in place and was reliant upon an internal maintenance programme. Kelly Ellis, Head of Football Development at the County FA, who has responsibility for facility investment and development across the County, takes up the story: “Following a highly successful artificial pitch maintenance training day and demonstration (delivered by Replay and Charterhouse Redexim) it was evident that the pitch surface was in need of a professional maintenance programme. After seeking advice from Replay Maintenance we were advised that with professional support the longevity of the pitch could be extended by 5 years.”

Replay Maintenance has since been appointed to implement a five-year maintenance programme for the pitch. The first stage of this was to immediately use its Revive process on the pitch, which uses a specially developed, single operator machine to remove contaminants from in-filled and water-based synthetic turf carpet as well as polymeric surfaces. Rotary brushes penetrate deeper into the in-fill than static brushes, breaking up the contamination crust and removing it with a powerful vacuum filter system for disposal off site. The sand or rubber in-fill is then filtered, dropped back onto the surface and worked in using a static brush head in the first instance, followed by a drag mat. The process helps reduce compaction of the surface, enhances its porosity and helps maintain the playing characteristics.  

Kelly Ellis said: “Since the implementation of the maintenance programme, the usage of the facility has significantly increased. The pitch surface is now considerably better to play on and is proving easier to maintain due to the professional maintenance of the carpet pile. Users have commented that the playing surface is much improved, specifically the bounce of the ball, and the general appearance of the pitch is much improved.

“The County FA has been hugely impressed with working with Replay. We have found them extremely professional, flexible and customer focused. An example of this was the opportunity they provided for our Premises Manager to spend a day working alongside the Replay staff on site at both our own facility and at a professional football club. We are now looking to utilise Holmes Park for workforce development opportunities, in particular for training groundsmen from other facilities.”

image:(L to R) Kelly Ellis, head of football development at Leicestershire FA, and Kez Dunkley, premises manager test the newly revived pitch.

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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