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World Firsts for IOG Conference!

A trio of world first presentations headline this year’s IOG Conference (York Racecourse, Thursday December 6), with FIFA’s first public airing of its new guide ‘for global improvement in natural grass’, while Manchester City FC will for the first time outline to the groundsmanship industry the club’s exciting plans for a new training ground and academy.

In addition, there are exclusive presentations by Clark Cox, Sports Turf Manager at the South Carolina University, and Brickman Sports Turf’s Murray Cook who, respectively, will be looking at managing an 85,000-seat college football stadium alongside other sports facilities, as well as reviewing baseball venues under design and development in the UK and the opportunities they present.

These combine with an already unforgettable programme of ‘Ahead of the Game’ Conference sessions that will entertain and enlighten delegates and grounds staff from across all sports industries.

The schedule includes a major presentation by the Olympic Park Legacy Company’s Director, Mark Camley. He will describe how, in times of austerity, all public funding comes under strict scrutiny – but parks and public spaces come under greater pressure than other areas, he says. With reference to the Olympic Park, his presentation will investigate the benefits of public spaces and what added value they bring.

Stuart Larman, Project Manager of Playing Surfaces at football’s international governing body, FIFA, will present the ‘FIFA natural grass manager’s guide: a new tool for global improvement in natural grass’. The IOG Conference will be the first public presentation on the new regional fact sheets and manager guides designed to educate senior and middle management on key issues when investing in natural grass pitches.

The presentation will cover: FIFA and natural grass; Global research paper on natural grass; Development of the manager guides; and Future plans.

Manchester City FC will outline the club’s exciting plans for its new training ground and academy adjacent to the Etihad Stadium. The £100 million-plus development on an 80-acre site is scheduled to embrace the construction of 16 pitches, a 7,000-capacity stadium for youth and reserve-team matches, and a first-team training building.

‘Managing an 85,000-seat college football stadium’ is the title of the session by Clark Cox, Sports Turf Manager at the South Carolina University, who will also highlight how his team manages other onsite sports facilities including athletics and baseball.

Brickman Sports Turf’s Murray Cook will also be making the trans-Atlantic trip to, for example:

  • Review the current baseball venues under design and development in the UK;
  • How planning new venues/sports pitches can include an option for baseball or softball; and
  • Emphasise the need for more sports turf managers to understand the sport and how it relates to new opportunities.

In addition, the IOG Conference programme also includes presentations by:

  • John Moverley, Independent Chairman of The Amenity Forum. He will discuss the impact of the changes arising from the Sustainable Use Directive and the importance of protecting the environment and especially water quality in terms of the Water Framework Directive.
  • The Turf Disease Centre’s Dr Kate Entwistle will discuss ‘Plant parasitic nematodes: the facts and figures’.
  • Lee Penrose, STRI Development Manager, will present ‘An inside view of how the turf care industry delivered the Olympic venues’.
  • Adrian Kay, York Racecourse’s Head Groundsman, will discuss the £2.6 million major redevelopment of the racecourse – Adrian will also conduct a guided tour of the racecourse facilities the day before Conference. 
  • People Performance Consultant, Frank Newberry, will present his highly motivational ‘Upgrading your influence’ session which has been captivating audiences in different countries for a number of years – and at the IOG Conference he will discuss how delegates can increase their influence and impact on others, inside and outside their organisations.

There will be a special session on ‘A year in the life of the IOG Young Directors’ and Geoff Webb, IOG Chief Executive, will launch the IOG’s new ‘Get into grounds’ strategy and membership format, plus discuss the future profile of sports turf groundsmen.

More details of IOG Conference – which is sponsored by British Sugar Topsoil and Vitax Supaturf – are available at www.­iogawards.­com, where you can book your seat at this unmissable event of the year!


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