'Become ambassadors,' groundsman told

Institute of Groundsmanship (IoG) boss Geoff Webb has called on his sector to become better ambassadors - and said not to panic about synthetic turf.

Speaking at the IoG's annual conference held at StadiumMK near Bletchley on 4 December, he said the industry needs to engage with the general public more, simplify language for the lay person and explain how important the job is to sport and the community.

Webb said the FA did not consult with the IoG before announcing a programme of 700 new artificial pitches in October.

"The issue is not going away," he added. "I've been criticised and the IoG has been criticised for our stance but we represent our members who have a mixed economy.

"Don't think for a minute that means we've got a lack of commitment for natural turf. If synthetics go in for all the wrong reasons we'll be there banging the door down and telling them that's wrong."

But he said that in the public sector there are 65,000 natural pitches.

"I don't think we need to panic," stressed Webb. "We just need to think about how to manage them better."

He added that the IoG is on a board looking at world stadium turf while members are looking at the environmental impact of synthetics and left-over carpet.

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