Survey reveals major cause of deliberate pitch damage

Goalkeepers are causing unnecessary damage to football pitches

Top line goalkeepers are the worst offenders for causing unnecessary damage to football pitches. The pre-match warm-up also contributes to pitch damage, and senior officials in the game have been alerted to the problem. The findings have been revealed in a survey of all 92 Premiership and Nationwide league soccer groundsmen. The survey was carried out by an on-line magazine for groundsmen and greenkeepers. Goalkeepers are accused of gouging out marks in the penalty areas to help with their positioning, which is in fact contrary to the laws of the game. Former Wolverhampton Wanderers player and now operations director of the web site John Richards said: “None of the groundsmen we surveyed said they had seen a yellow card issued for this offence.” Most of the respondents said they would support the introduction of official markings on the six-yard box and penalty area to help goalkeepers. The survey showed that many groundsmen believe the warm-up and now fashionable warm-down cause more damage to pitches than the matches themselves; Middlesbrough was named as the club with the most intensive work-out. The results of the survey have been forwarded to the Football Association and the Premiership and Nationwide leagues. A letter has also gone to the playing surfaces committee of the leagues. It points out that although no action has been taken against goalkeepers marking the pitch, at least one groundsman has been warned about marks he put on to help goalkeepers.

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