|With the start of the 2018/19 season less than a month away, we are aware that the recent dry weather has left some natural turf pitches in a condition that is not conducive to training or matches.
Please see Keith Kent’s advice on how best to manage pitches during times of low rainfall and drought and further advice from Sport England on how to manage sports facilities. The best but probably the hardest solution for most clubs is to be patient, keep irrigating (if possible) and to wait for the rain. If any club has a question about a specific issue with their pitch, they can email [email protected].
Player welfare should be central to any decision on whether a pitch is appropriate to play on due to the potential injury risk. Common sense should be applied when monitoring hard pitches – take a similar approach to when you consider whether a frozen or waterlogged pitch is safe to play on in winter.
The RFU’s Competitions Team is in communication with Divisional Organising Committees and League Secretaries regarding the potential impact on games at the start of the season. Please be assured there are regulations in place that provide clarity about rearranging fixtures due to a pitch being unfit for play and League Secretaries have been encouraged to proactively use them. The most relevant regulation is 13.6.6 (b) iii
‘A Club whose home ground is unfit to play must seek an alternative venue. In the event of Clubs failing to agree on the suitability of the alternative venue, a ruling can be made by the Organising Committee. During the first part of the season, Clubs playing in home and away Leagues will be expected in the first instance to exchange the venue to the one originally scheduled for the second half of the Season’
*Please be aware that AGPs could offer an alternative venue for clubs. You can book an AGP through the following link https://rugby365.sports-booker.com/customer/
If the situation should worsen, communication will come direct to clubs through Divisional Organising Committees and League Secretaries / League Organisers. If clubs have questions about the interpretation of a regulation or have general questions about postponement or rearrangement of fixtures they should speak to their League Secretary or League Organiser.