Wirral RA Guidance For Pitch Inspections During the Winter Months
Wirral RA would like to offer this article as a guide to referees who are asked or required to undertake pitch inspections. It is a sign of the time that should any injury occur on pitch which had been deemed playable by the referee then we are seeing more legal cases being taken against the referee.
The main point therefore, is look after yourself by looking after the players.
Contact by Club
- Discuss what the pitch is like now - Has anyone been on it ?
- Discuss overnight forecast and outlook.
- Arrange a time to meet. Bear in mind that at Supply League and above clubs will travel early and by making an early decision you may save them their travel expenses.
- Arrive at the ground slightly earlier than planned to allow you to inspect the ground unaccompanied or placed under pressure by players/club officials.
- Assess the whole ground on arrival - How easy was it to access the car park ? Is the car park an ice rink ? Could spectators slip on ice ?
- Ensure you are wearing sensible footwear - Get your boots on - This will give you an idea of the conditions the players will be faced with. On a wet pitch get a ball and see how it runs.
- Do it on your own
- Gain local knowledge from the club groundsman before you inspect if available. They’ll tell you how the water drains or where the pitch thaws slower.
- Inspect all areas of the pitch - Specific attention given to the ‘Busy’ areas - Penalty areas and centre of the field from box to box. You are looking for any dangers - Ice / Snow / Standing water.
- On Icy Pitches - Would ruts cause an injury ? If so - Postpone
- On Waterlogged Pitches - Does the ball run freely ? Does the ball bounce ?
- On Snow Covered Pitches - Can you see the pitch markings ? Does the ball run ?
- Take your time and consider everything - Safety of players / spectators and club officials and also you and your assistants.
- Consider the forecast - Click Here for a 24 hour forecast for the Wirral. If you already have a waterlogged pitch and more rain is forecast will you be able to finish what you have started ?
- Consider a delayed kick off to allow the air temperature to rise and thaw surface frost.
- With a light dusting of snow would it possible to clear the pitch markings and play with a yellow/orange ball ?
- Take in everything you have gained such as groundsman knowledge / forecast and your own experience.
- Any doubt - Postpone
- If you don’t think you will finish the game… don’t start the game
- Be positive in your approach and equally when you inform the club of your decision.
- Once you have made a decision - that is it - do not be persuaded to change it by club officials who will apply pressure to get the game on.
- If the game can go ahead, ensure you remind all those concerned that if for some reason things do change that cause you a real concern for the safety of players & yourself… you do reserve the right to reverse your decision to preserve the safety of the players & yourself ! This is just a caveat in case of need; if you are in doubt about whether to play the game or not – postpone the game.
- Make a brief note of your discussions & who with… so that you can accurately report the circumstances around your decision. This will be required by the competition the game was due to take place in if the game is postponed.
- REMEMBER - SAFETY IS YOUR PRIME CONCERN