It is the same problem every winter for the gardeners of the Ligue 1 stadiums of Uber Eats: how to deal with the drop in temperatures? The cold weather, the increase in precipitation and the appearance of snow lead to an always complicated period for the management of the terrain. Holding meetings becomes a complex equation. To overcome these difficulties and help clubs during the winter period, the LFP has implemented a number of measures over the years to improve its pitch protection system. Here is an overview of the main initiatives.
If we look at the archives, the LFP experimented with and approved the use of tarpaulins to cover pitches in December 2003, before offering financial support to clubs wishing to equip themselves. The LFP has also provided clubs with two tarpaulin systems to use in the event of extreme conditions in an unequipped stadium. The objective of these investments, in addition to protecting the grounds against bad weather, was to maximize the chances of keeping the matches on their initial schedule.
Following these first steps, clubs have over time equipped themselves with ever better technology to withstand their local climates. After having adopted the use of tarpaulins in all the stadiums, they have notably equipped themselves with hot air blowers to cope with periods of extreme cold. In addition, over the past ten years, massive investments have been made in thermal regulation systems under the surfaces of the ground, making it possible to limit the formation of frost deep in the substrate, and therefore the risk of unplayable ground.
In June 2013, a Météo-France subscription was also taken out to allow clubs to follow the weather forecast on site before matches, both at home and away. Knowing that forecasts are available ten days in advance, increasingly reliable as kick-off approaches, French league clubs can monitor trends on a daily basis and adapt their strategy to deal with any situation. developing problem.
This awareness and this involvement of the clubs is linked to the insertion in the LFP regulations of elements concerning the obligation to respect the progress of the matches, and therefore the protection of the grounds. In the event of non-compliance with these guidelines, the offending club may be financially sanctioned.
In addition to the obligation for clubs to have a field supervisor, the LFP has also set up a network of field delegates, each of whom is responsible for monitoring the weather conditions in a stadium in their geographical area in order to prevent any risk . If necessary, the field delegate must alert the LFP which, depending on the discussions with the club and the reading of the forecasts, may decide to send a representative on site to check the real state of the playing surface. This system is activated from November to March in order to alert all stakeholders.
Currently, the Match Operations Department, in addition to all these elements, provides last-minute monitoring, based on its knowledge of the equipment at each stadium. This support is provided with the aim of further limiting the risks. Monitoring Friday therefore makes it possible to target the match that could pose a problem at the start of the weekend. In the event of a postponement, priority is always given to the next day, if conditions permit, so as not to disrupt the sports calendar of the teams concerned, with a possible additional match to be played during the week.
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