Matchdebating: Redevelopment will damage our club

Sport Sheffield’s decision regarding the removal of the bottom hockey pitch and replacing it with a 3G pitch resulted in a huge uproar by the Sheffield University Hockey Club.
The consequences of this decision are to have detrimental effects to one of the biggest and most successful sports clubs in the Union.
After last season Sport Sheffield replaced the top astroturf with the cheapest grade of artificial pitch that passed hockey regulations, deeming it “suitable for standard hockey use.”
Within a season’s use, hockey players and even umpires have commented on the poor playing quality of the surface and in some circumstances, questioned it actually meeting the criteria for a hockey pitch.
Now, at the end of the current season, Sport Sheffield are removing the hockey clubs’ preferred lower pitch, where not only the pitch quality is better, but also where there are better facilities for spectators to watch both the University and Bankers teams.
At the outset, it is inconsiderate to the 17 hockey teams that require use of the facilities to be forced onto just one pitch, when the astroturf they are now replacing was already earning revenue from 6-a-side football; a surface that the football players were perfectly content to use.
The University hockey playing capacity will be severely reduced which could have a damaging effect on the amount of BUCS points generated by the hockey club and hence the University.
Alternatively, Sport Sheffield could have stuck to the message that they send out on their website, claiming that Sheffield Sport: “provides opportunities to represent the University in national competitions and supports some of our top national and international student sportsmen and women whilst studying at the University of Sheffield.”
If that was their real aim, then they could use the huge profit raised from their existing 3G facilities, and considering the future revenue of the new pitch, to invest in a high quality playing surface like the majority of Universities have, dedicated to hockey.
Instead, as a result of their actions, top-level student sportsmen and women will be deterred from the University of Sheffield due to its poor facilities for hockey, especially when there are so many excellent hockey facilities at Leeds Met and Sheffield Hallam.
This will also negatively impact the sporting ambitions of a club with a long history in the local community.
In an Olympic year when Britain wants to be proud of nurturing sporting talent and encouraging all sports, Sport Sheffield seem to be doing the exact opposite with purely financial ambitions. – Please note, these views are of Kieran Bhakta and Joe McTaggart.


One Response to “Matchdebating: Redevelopment will damage our club”

  1. Ollie

    While I sympathise with the Hockey club here, probably worth pointing out that while the Astro was being used for football, it was a terrible surface to play on.

    Although this is not to say it was worth replacing with a better football surface at the cost of removing a Hockey surface.

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