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Harrogate and promotion

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“We receive the Football League grant only if we go up,” says Weaver. “But we can’t not do the work. We need to meet all the criteria to go into the Football League and that will also involve digging up our pitch because it is 3G."




There has always been talk in any sport of the proverbial level playing field. Portsmouth's success was seemingly built into investment into the team first and foremost and forget any investment into the ground. Pavis's ground first showed compliance with the ethics and rules of the Taylor report but many other clubs failed to follow.

We now have a similar situation where Harrogate have "invested" all in the team and are now crying foul that they are in a financial gamble. Presumably digging up the pitch, relaying a grass pitch is a month's work. Notts have had the foresight to relay their pitch now but Harrogate chose not too. Perhaps Harrogate's failure to strike a deal to play matches at a nominated and agreed EFL fit stadium will cost them promotion? Thoughts?


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This is a tricky one - teams that invest in upgrading their facilities before a promotion push do seem to be at a disadvantage. Harrogate built a new stand in 2014, but it sounds like the new Family Stand is dependent on promotion. Meanwhile, clubs like Ebbsfleet have redeveloped and are struggling.

On the other hand, a capacity of 3,800 is only a few hundred short of what Wimbledon have got and it doesn't take long to whack up a temporary stand or two. Teams that win promotion to the Championship have two years to comply with the ground requirements there - Burton played there with two terraced stands for two years before going back down again. But history also tells us that the Football League is more lenient towards its own members than clubs applying for promotion.

The plastic pitch is another issue entirely - they're permitted in non-league and the Champions League, but not in the Football League. Many clubs also hire them out and make a lot of money out of them, so they are losing that income by removing them (and I'd bet that replacing a plastic pitch is a lot more expensive than just returfing too). If the FL aren't going to accept 3G and 4G pitches, I think they should at least allow a grace period for teams coming up from the Bananarama Conference.

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