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Are officials being to picky with playing surfaces?


Years ago you'd play in mud baths and enjoy from sidelines a match played in terrible conditions with the ball barely bouncing.


But now, even the slightest bit of mud leads to a postponement.


Are clubs doing enough to get games on? are they trying to get rid of standing water?


We used to see pictures of groundsman, volunteers etc, out with their forks or brooms, now though, it's wake up, arrange inspection and await postponement.


What is the definition of A Waterlogged Pitch?

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I totally agree with some of your points. Yes remember playing in muddy, wet conditions and it was good fun to be honest. I think some people try to protect the pitch. We try to get our games on, our pitch was waterlogged before our game on the 28th dec but we had 6 people meet there at 8 am and fork, roll and do the best we could. It wasn't great but the game went ahead and we played!!

But I would say over the last week there has been a awful lot of rain and like us if you back onto a river , if the level is high forking doesn't help!!

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I think a lot of it comes down to Health & Safety and the risk of legal action in these days of 'Ambulance Chasing' and civil claims for compensation.


Technically, a player could insure himself against injury when officials deem a pitch playable which then results in the said player receiving serious injury.


A sign of the times, I'm afraid.

Edited by Big J R
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I can't speak for referrees at Supply League (CCL) but those of us at Contributory League (Isthmian / Southen Leagues) are advised by the FA to, in effect, let the clubs make the decision to play or not for us. By that I mean the following: if both clubs are happy to play, play; if one club is not happy to play, then don't play; and, if neither team is happy to play, then don't play. Clearly, best practice would be for a pitch inspection to be done in consultation (i.e. in the presence of officials from both teams) but that is not always practicable and an early pitch inspection is often required. In those cases the decision is the referee's to make himself based on a range of factors such as the existing condition of the pitch, groundsman's advice and prevailing weather factors. Personally, if I have any doubt I would err on the side of caution.


I've done a number of pitch inspections recently under different circumstances, one of which (in consultation with the clubs) resulted in the game starting but being abandoned at half-time (again after consultation) following the deterioration of the pitch after a torrential downpour. Equally, I've called games off in the morning as that was, in my opinion, the best decision to make at the time on the available evidence. I don't think any referee does so happily as we'd rather have a game than no game.

Edited by Gluck_ab
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If a pitch is inspected early and the referee deems it fit to play, would a referee postpone any game based solely on a weather forecast for later on that day as suppl;ed by the club groundsman? 

Edited by Chris Clapham
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Good question (perhaps a leading one though)! Personally I would check the weather forecast myself anyway as it's easy enough to do so. That's why this would ought to be only one of the factors considered as opposed to the sole one, and the decision to be that of the referee based on the evidence available at the time. The trouble is with a forecast is that you are only vindicated correct if the event(s) actually occurs, in this case bad weather. You could say you're damned if do, damned if you don't!


In the case of the abandonment I used as an example, the forecast for weather later on during the game was heavy rain though both clubs were happy to start the game knowing this might occur, as the pitch, whilst soft in parts, was playable at kick-off time. It subsequently did rain heavily resulting in the game being abandoned.

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Would a referee deem a pitch playable, and then after five or ten or minutes then abandon the game, thereby claiming full payment as an official ??


Of course not !!

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Drove past the public pitches at RPV on the way to a job earlier and it looks like Loch Ness. I'd say you've less than 1% chance of it being on.


And I should add that we may well have been off today if we were playing. That shows how high the water tables are everywhere!

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Yep - loads of standing water (in some cases ponds bordering on lakes) in Epsom and the surrounding area today. Have to assume it's similar throughout the league area.

Seems about right for most areas, with more rain in the longer range forcast how about if games are postponed the day befor the fixture and the away teams ground is o k reverse the fixture if it's not already been played. With officials already in place could get a game on.


A bit more revolutionary, if teams have played the club in the then the away fixture have teams who have agreed to stand in at say 24 hrs notice. Using the officials from the original game.


Might get a game or two being played


Who wants Saturday. Tuesday. Thursday. Saturday at the end of the season especially if promotion or relegation is involved



"No way". "Never" I here you say!


O K only a suggestion

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Re: Spartan South Midlands League 

Fixtures for Saturday 9th January may be postponed without a pitch inspection following discussion with League Chairman, Referee's Secretary and myself. 

See Full Time for updates when I am notified of games OFF 

Karen Browne 
Fixtures Secretary 

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