By the GMA

Last week the GMA held the official launch of their Grounds Management Framework (GMF) at an event hosted at Lord’s Cricket Ground and attended by key industry personnel, including GMA members and representatives of the national-governing bodies.

The aim of the GMF strategy, say the GMA, is to support the sporting industry, in better understanding how to maintain natural turf sports surfaces to the best possible level, as well as presenting grounds management as a viable career path, the GMA has developed the GMF, as a set of standards for natural turf sports surfaces.

According to the GMA, with the quality of playing surfaces directly impacting the standard, and amount, of sport played on them, the GMF shines a spotlight on the importance of grounds management to sport. It does so in a way that is simple to understand for people outside of the industry, like club chairmen and directors.

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Developed by the GMA and sports consultant, Tim Nicholls, the GMF combines long-standing performance quality standards with relevant skills and knowledge.

Backed by national-governing bodies, the framework will determine whether users are at a ‘basic’, ‘good’, ‘advanced’, ‘high’, or ‘elite’ level and will ensure that those responsible for pitches are aware of the characteristics, resources, skills and knowledge required for their playing surface, and how to progress to the next level.

The framework is already in use on the Football Foundation's web app, PitchPower, in addition to the GMA’s training programmes, where courses and qualifications have been aligned to the levels of the GMF. 

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Geoff Webb CEO of the GMA was keen to point out that, “The Grounds Management Framework has been in development for a long time and has been a big focus for us as an organisation, so it’s great to finally see it launched officially. 

“The grounds management industry already employs around 26,000 people, with over 37,000 part-time volunteers, but more are needed if we are to keep up with the demand for sport. We need 1000 people a year to join our sector to keep up with demand, but we know that, with improved surfaces, almost 2 million more children will benefit.

“Our work is focused on getting the best for the industry and highlighting the hard work, knowledge and skill that goes into making sport possible – this framework will make it clearer for people inside and outside of the industry, from club chairman to stadium managers, to understand what it takes to prepare playing surfaces at all levels and will better support matching training and experience to quality of playing surfaces.”

TurfPro editior, Laurence Gale was in attendance and said, "It was interesting to hear what the GMA's plans are going forward. It was also great to be back at Lord's, having another opportunity to catch up with Geoff and Jason from the GMA, Iain James from the ECB and other industry professionals including Karl McDermott, Lords HG, Ryan Golding, HG, Leeds Rhinos and popular influencer Jimmy The Mower."

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Laurence continued, "After the main presentation four guest speakers were introduced, who went on to speak about the values and benefits this scheme will bring and deliver across the country in the coming years.

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"The event ended with an opportunity for guests to have a tour of the ground with Karl McDermott who has been in post for four years now. Karl was keen to explain the extent of the work involved in preparing and maintaining this hallowed ground."

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