Government backs new IOG Awards

The Government has thrown its support behind a new awards scheme to recognise the grounds-care industry's contribution to British sport.

Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe, said the new annual awards would celebrate how grounds care staff ensured the sustainability of British sport and good grounds care.

The Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) will single out professional and volunteer people and grounds from grass-roots pitches to professional stadiums.

The 2009 results would be announced "Oscar-style" at the Emirates Stadium, London, on 15 October 2009 as part of the IOG's National Conference, said a representative.

Sutcliffe said: "The hard work and technical knowledge of grounds staff helps make sport accessible to everyone and should be publicly acknowledged."

Arsenal FC head groundsman Paul Burgess, who has helped set up the inaugural awards ceremony, said an awards scheme was long overdue.

"The initiative is designed to recognise the dedication and expertise of grounds care practitioners, volunteer, professional and, most importantly, the younger generation."

Chief executive of Central Council of Physical Recreation Tim Lamb said his alliance of governing bodies supported the awards.

Lamb said his group, which represents 150,000 clubs across the UK and around eight million participants, was especially pleased to be involved at the grass roots level.

IOG chief executive Geoff Webb: "Everyone involved in grounds maintenance knows how much time, effort and skill goes into ensuring quality."

Awards will include the groundsman's groundsman, spectator sports ground, independent school sports ground and best-maintained artificial pitch.

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