Why Do We Close Our Fields?

Why Do We Close Our Fields?

We recognise that closing our fields to training and games can be frustrating for managers, coaches, players and parents alike.

We can assure you – we love football, we have kids playing football, we play football – we do not take the decision to close our fields lightly.

 

We are often asked:

On what basis do you close your fields?

We close our fields when they are deemed unsafe to play on and if using them will lead to substantial damage to the field.

Player Safety

When the fields are soaking wet (boggy/soggy) they become slippy and the surface is unstable.  This means that players are more likely to slip and slide or get their foot trapped in the uneven soil, both of which can lead to twists, sprains, breaks and other injuries.  We do not wish to expose our players to this danger where possible.

We have a long season (to September) and many games to play.   We would rather be conservative and cancel training or games due to wet weather than risk our player’s health, safety and ability to participate throughout the entire season.

Field Damage

When the grass is wet it is all too easy for large sods/chunks of grass to be dislodged when playing.  Multiply this over multiple games and many players and the result can be substantial damage which might take weeks, months and a lot of money to fix and repair.

We give our fields the maximum opportunity to dry out before we inspect them and announce closures but we are also mindful that it is important we give as much notice to parents and players, and our footballing partners, Football Brisbane and Football Queensland, of any cancellations especially when some fixtures take place at 8am.

Why are your fields closed when other clubs fields are open?

It depends where the other Clubs are, how much rain they have endured, where they lie in the land, the quality, and type of their sub-soil etc.

Some fields naturally drain better than others.  Sandy soils (usually near the coast) drain quicker and more effectively than those on natural soil (heavier profile) or former tip sites (heaviest profile).

We maintain our fields as well as we can.  We fill in holes/dips when they appear, we have installed irrigation, we fertilise, we mow, we weed, we have spread out training and games as best we can, amongst other things, but the fact of the matter is that our fields have the heaviest profile of soil type and do get water-logged after heavy rain and take some time to dry out.

When we close our fields you will usually find that other Clubs in our surrounding area will do the same.  If not, the different factors below (soil, amount and type of activity etc) will come into play when making their decision.

Who makes the decision to close the fields?

Our Technical Director, Joe Fenech has many years of experience coaching, managing and directing football.

Joe reviews the fields one by one.  Joe will liaise with our groundsman and our QPL Senior Player and Sports Administrator, Marek and the Committee as necessary, for their opinion and recommendation.  Some factors which are taken into consideration are:

  • Surface Water – Competition and training will be cancelled if there is any surface water visible on the field.  The only exception to this would be if the area affected is small, in a low usage/wear area and the rest of the field is firm and dry.
  • Ground Softness – Fields are closed if there is any sinking into the field when walking on it which does not bounce back or if when standing still/walking water rises up to the surface.  Water rising to the surface when walked on means the ground has reached saturation point and will be damaged very quickly if played on.
  • Amount of Rainfall – Rainfall leading into competition and training will be used to guide decisions.  We take into consideration the rainfall during the week, the night before and the forecast for the day of training/competition when making decisions.
  • Grass Cover – 60/70% grass cover is fine for play during dry weather.  During wet weather, if grass cover is below 70% damage to the field can be substantial if play takes place.
  • Amount and Type of Activity – We assess how many players will play on the field during the day – is there one game or ten?  This will have a considerable effect on the fields if play takes place on a wet surface.  Grounds can be damaged very quickly over 1 or 2 weekends with heavy use and wet weather.  Also, juniors and seniors impact the ground differently (juniors usually being the worst of the two) and this needs to be taken into account when making a decision to close a field.

Joe will ultimately decide whether we close the fields immediately, re-assess at a later hour or announce them open for games and training.

Joe is passionate about football, he lives and breathes football and does not like to see any training and/or games cancelled.  It is always with a heavy heart, and with disappointment that he takes a decision to close our fields and cancel training and games.

We can assure you that cancelling a full weekend of games (or weekly training sessions) causes considerable extra work for the club whether it be notifying the members about the field closures, managing parent’s/player’s disappointment/questions and squeezing re-scheduled fixtures into an already packed season.  We ensure that all factors are considered before any fields are closed.

Please refer to our weather protocol for more information.  Please keep an eye on the website for cancellation notices.

Weather Protocol

We appreciate your support and understanding.

By |2018-04-20T17:23:29+00:00April 20th, 2018|Categories: Female Football, General News, Junior News, Over 35's News, Senior News|

About the Author:

Sharon is the current President of the Holland Park Hawks Football Club. Sharon is a Qualified Accountant with a background in Investment Banking in London and Legal and Energy Industries in Australia. Sharon is a keen traveller. She has visited over 60 countries and has lived in Australia for 15 years. She is married to Andrew and has two football mad boys, Nic and Sam both playing at Holland Park Hawks. Sharon is also a proud supporter of Chesterfield FC!

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