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  • 3G Pitch Build and Funding



    We are well progressed with our strategy to bring a 3G pitch to Gigg Lane this summer. In addition to more revenue, and avoiding pitch postponements due to the weather, it will give us a sporting facility which benefits the wider community, and promote active health throughout the borough.

    This update covers two issues, firstly the technical specifications and requirements for the installation and secondly how we propose to fund it.

    Technical Requirements

    We are grateful to Dave McNabb and his team for input into the type of surface we wanted the first teams to play on, and examples of good and bad artificial pitches they have experienced.

    3G, 4G, 5G?...

    We will be installing a 3G pitch, as those are the only ones which are currently permitted. We've been asked about 4G pitches but they don't really exist.

    The FA’s Third Generation Football Turf Guidance state: “At the moment there is no such thing as 4G or 5G. These are marketing terms used by companies. Some manufacturers may promote non-infilled products, but these have not received acceptance as a suitable football surface and often struggle to satisfy FIFA requirements.”

    You can read more below.


    League Requirements

    We have chosen a FIFA Quality Pro pitch, which is the highest quality available. This is necessary as it is a requirement to have a Quality Pro pitch to play in the National League.

    You can read more about the relevant standards below.


    https://www.fifa.com/technical/football-technology/standards/footballs/fifa-quality-marks-explained?tch Technology StandardsFIFA Quality Marks Explained

    Reducing Rubber Crumb

    One issue which came across loud and clear from players was the need to reduce the amount of rubber crumb required on the pitch. Rubber crumb costs money, as it has to be topped up annually, and is subject to a lot of negative press.

    Historically 3G pitches were designed and built using 60mm pile height systems without a shock pad, this combination required 17 kilograms of rubber infill per square meter. Current industry best practice is to reduce the amount of rubber installed within the system. This is achieved with the inclusion of a shockpad and modern 3G turf technology. The proposed system has over 40% less rubber crumb in-fill at 10 kilograms per square meter.

    Our solution will achieve this significant reduction in rubber crumb. The pitch already has perimeter boarding which prevents the escape of the rubber crumb. You can read more on the best practice for this here.

    The Supplier

    We have chosen McArdle Sport Tec to install the pitch. They provided the most competitive price on a like for like basis and have a strong reputation and track record of delivery of similar projects. We obtained references from other clubs and the Football Foundation.



    The headline cost quoted is £652, 456.38 plus VAT.

    This includes all elements of the pitch build, plus the equipment required to use and maintain the pitch such as socketed goals and corner flags, a ride on tractor with brushes for maintaining the surface, specialist maintenance service visits to undertake deep decompaction works, and clearance of the site. It also includes the soil sampling which has already been paid for by the football club.

    This does not include any contingency for unforseen costs, but we have already paid for detailed soil sampling for depth, quality, and CBR values, which has informed the quote to ensure it is as accurate as possible at this stage.

    Income and Expenditure

    3G pitches all perform differently over time. The standard guideline is that 50 hours use per week for a 48 week year is appropriate, and we are working to that. The warranty is for 8 years and 20, 000 hours which also fits in with this usage limit.

    We are proposing a £45, 000 per annum contribution from pitch rental profits into a sinking fund which will fund the replacement of the pitch when required.

    Revenues of £130, 000 per annum (net of VAT) from pitch hire are achievable, based on charging a blend of rates and restricting usage to 50 hours per week over a 30 week period with a full maintenance programme in place. This is a relatively conservative estimate, using the Football Foundation's modelling tools. It leaves an additional 18 weeks where we could run community events throughout the summer, or we could blend these into peak times and extend the 30 weeks to 48. We are in discussions with Bury Council to understand their requirement for community use and best way to accommodate this.

    Maintenance costs are estimated at around £60, 000 per annum which includes the £45, 000 contribution to the sinking fund.

    Community Officer

    Core to the success of the new pitch is the provision of benefit to the wider community of Bury. This is key to both the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities requirements and also to Bury Council's funding. We know that the pitch will be successfully rented due to the huge demand for 3G pitch rental in the borough, but to ensure that the pitch is used to promote active health and lifestyle services to those who need it most, we propose to employ a Community Officer, and develop an outreach programme to ensure that these services reach people who would not typically come to the stadium. This is an additional cost which will be funded from profits but will also provide us with a resource to apply for additional funding for the delivery of these services. It should become cost neutral, or close to cost neutral, over time.


    The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) have approved our business plan and stated that they will transfer the remaining funds of £300, 000 allocated to us on completion of a long term lease which ensures that the club plays at Gigg Lane and the signing of the contract with the supplier.

    Bury Council have indicated they are comfortable with the allocation of their £450, 000 commitment to the pitch subject to the signing of the long term lease and meeting their own governance requirements. This includes the successful approval of an application which demonstrates community use, and agreeing how their investment will be governed ongoing. We are actively involved working this through with them. There is still a formal process to complete and we will respect that process.

    We have our own cash reserves which will be used to top up any funding gap, and provide a contingency in the event that costs increase due to unforseen events.

    We have received no further capital from the benefactors, who have objected to the use of a lease, which they believe devalues their own investment, but we have no alternative sources of capital so believe it is right to proceed to access the DLUHC and Bury Council funds. The lease does not require the football club to pay any rent, it simply imposes the obligation to pay bills and fund repairs and will collect stadium revenue. If we proceeded with Football Foundation funding for the pitch we would also have to put a long term lease in place. The lease will also fulfill our obligation to provide 'security of tenure' to the FA and league.

    We have opted not to apply to the Football Foundation at this point as their lead in time of 15 months means that we could not install the pitch this summer. Both financially and in terms of community benefit, the benefits of installing the pitch this summer outweigh the costs. We anticipate applying to the Football Foundation later in the year as we are able to apply for a higher amount of funding for stadium improvements if we are promoted.

    With the exception of the benefactors, all parties are comfortable with this direction of travel, although we acknowledge there is still a formal process to follow. We are grateful to all the organisations and individuals who have assisted in the project so far.

    Your Views

    We have been clear about the need for a 3G pitch for a long time, and it has been a major part of our planning and the grant funding received to acquire Gigg Lane. We are not required to run a member vote on this but want to seek approval and will issue an advisory vote to all members on this to assess that.


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