BIGGA chief reveals regret over failed IoG merger talks

British & International Golf Greenkeepers’ Association (BIGGA) chief executive John Pemberton expressed disappointment at the association’s annual show over the breakdown of merger talks with the Institute of Groundsmanship (IoG).

“We could have got over the hurdles, so the abrupt ending came as a blow,” he said at a press conference at the BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME), part of Harrogate Week last week. “It took a lot of hard work to get where we were. We had covered a lot of ground and had another meeting scheduled when the call came from the IoG.” IoG chief executive Geoff Webb had earlier said there would be problems “selling” the proposals to members. The main sticking points, he said, were about reaching an acceptable increased membership fee for IoG members together with tangible benefits. “We have natural joint interests in the industry,” Pemberton said. “By joining together we could have provided a joint voice for the industry. Merger talks are out of the question for the forseeable future, but who knows what may happen down the line?” He added: “There was no warning and we were happily moving towards the next stage, with a meeting planned.” Pemberton said there was a place for a new umbrella organisation, adding: “This has been suggested by people like Wimbledon head groundsman Eddie Seaward, who believes that organisations such as the Federation of European Golf Greenkeepers Association has a real value in providing one body to voice industry concerns.”

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