Category: Domestic Football

Surrey Submits Planning Permission for new 3,000 Capacity Stadium in Guildford as part of 4 Member Consortium

International Surrey Football is pleased to announce that the organisation has officially submitted planning permission to Guildford Borough Council as part of a consortium for the construction of a new 3,000 capacity multi-use stadium on land owned by the University of Surrey, with the facility operated as part of Surrey Sports Park.

The consortium consisting of International Surrey Football, University of Surrey (also representing Surrey Sports Park), non-league football side Guildford City Football Club and Premiership Rugby Union side Harlequin Football Club will jointly fund and use the facility as a premier football and rugby venue in Guildford. Additional funding will also be provided by Guildford Borough Council and the Football Foundation to cover the estimated £6 million to construct the stadium.

The stadium will feature a 1,500 capacity seated main stand (artist impression below) located on the southern side of the pitch, with 1,500 capacity standing room along the other 3 sides with potential temporary seating being installed to increase the venue’s capacity up to 6,000 for occasional larger events.

The stadium would be constructed and designed to have theoretical scope to expand permanently up to 10,000 capacity as an all-seater stadium. (artist impression is shown below)

The stadium will be designed by Bear Stadium, an Italian based civil engineering company and constructed by Rubner Holzbau, a major European construction firm with offices across Germany, France, and Italy. Bear Stadium estimates the stadium could be constructed in as little as 6 months upon completion of the contract and planning approval.

Rubner Holzbau and Bear Stadium have previously provided assistance in expanding the home ground of Canadian Premier League side, Pacific FC, in Langford, Vancouver Island. The expansion in 2019 saw over 4,000 new seats added to the venue, with potential to add a further 2,500 seats in the future.

The venue’s pitch will use a FIFA approved supplier FieldTurf, the Canadian based company supplier synthetic surfaces to hundreds of sports teams and other facilities across the world and are one of the world leaders in the field. The stadium’s main stand will also feature a mainly wooden construction produced by Rubner Holzbau using renewably sourced wood and meeting all necessary fire safety standards.

The primary tenant of the new stadium would be Guildford City FC. The team would be moving out of their current home at Guildford Spectrum, and move into their first purpose-built stadium since leaving their Joseph’s Road ground in 1974. The stadium’s day to day operations will be managed by the University of Surrey through their Surrey Sports Park operations whose land will be where the stadium will be constructed on. Surrey Sports Park will be available to hire by the general public at limited periods throughout the year.

Located beside the A3 (see map below), parking for the new stadium will utilise the underused Guildford Park and Ride, at which bus services from the town centre operate from. In the future the stadium will also be serviced from the new Park Barn Train Station located near Royal Surrey County Hospital, an estimated 20 minutes walk from the new Guildford Stadium.

The main stadium will also include office space, a 80 spm conference hall and additional spaces that could be adjusted to suit a number of purposes. The first floor of the stand which over looks the pitch will total 500 spm of hospitality space (pictured below), a 100 sqm snack bar (pictured below), 60 spm catering area and an 200 spm hospitality lounge and restaurant area (pictured below), which may be reconfigured for various purposes.

The stadium will also enjoy a massive 130 sqm of changing room space for both home and away teams, ideal with the project’s inclusion of Premiership Rugby Union side, Harlequin FC. The Premiership rugby side has an existing presence at Surrey Sports Park and the construction of the new Guildford Stadium allows the team to build on this presence with the scope that the team’s men and women’s sides will play regular pre-season friendlies at the new ground.

As well as usage of the facilities by Guildford City FC, Harlequin FC and Surrey Sports Park, International Surrey Football will also see usage of the new premier stadium relocating the Southern Frontier Cup to the new stadium from 2022 and targeting at least 2 home friendlies a year at the ground and hosting other events when possible in collaboration with the venues various other tenants, especially Guildford City FC.

With Surrey Sports Park’s previous history of hosting international tournaments such as the 2011 Women’s Rugby World Cup and 2018 Women’s Lacrosse World Cup it is hoped the stadium could see greater usage in hosting prestigious tournaments in Surrey.

Surrey Football TV to Become WatchISF and will Aim to Trial Free Video Service for Surrey Based Clubs

International Surrey Football’s Surrey Football TV was launched in 2020 with plans to provide on-demand full match replays and highlights of Surrey’s 2020 games, including the Southern Frontier Cup. However, after COVID-19 forced many of its plans to be scrapped we’re pleased to announce that the service will be rebranded as WatchISF going into a new list of revamped 2021 plans.

As well as plans for WatchISF to continue to cover Surrey’s fixtures, including our women’s trial games, men’s friendlies in 2021, and intentions to expand to some non-match content such as training session content, interviews, and more going forward, the service will be aiming to provide coverage of other teams, this may include WUFA and CONIFA sides playing fixtures in or near Surrey, or during the club season, WatchISF will be looking to provide coverage of local Surrey fixtures, with the aim to provide regular full match or highlights coverage of individual clubs or leagues, at no expense to the participating parties.

With the service intended to be free for participating clubs to increase their exposure online and provide WatchISF with regular content on a nearly weekly basis the cost of running the service will be expected to come from 2 main sources with International Surrey Football directly funding the service, as well as the sale of sponsorship packages, details to be confirmed.

The aim of WatchISF is to increase the access of Surrey non-league content, and not be based solely on match content, and help clubs make the leap to online video content without adding to club’s expenses as Surrey eases out of the latest COVID restrictions that may likely lead to a cancellation of the remainder of the 2020/21 season which had been heavily disrupted by restrictions and financial uncertainty.

As well as providing the on-demand footage for free, videos will be made available 24 before anyone else via ISF’s Surrey Supporters Club, provided through its online membership service Patreon, with SCC membership starting at just £2 a month for fans to view games and highlights before anyone else.

You can subscribe to WatchISF’s Youtube page here: WatchISF Youtube
Or join the Surrey Supporter’s Club for exclusive, pre-release access to videos here: https://www.patreon.com/intsurreyfootball/

International Surrey Football will also be looking for a dedicated Head of Video Content to lead WatchISF’s expansion beyond its initial matchday recordings and into its expansion. Interested candidates can contact us at info@intsurreyfootball.co.uk including a cover letter and CV.

International Surrey Football Supports the Rainbow Laces Campaign

Everyone, regardless of who they are, have a right to enjoy football without fear of discrimination. 

2020 have shown a light on just some of the long-standing inequalities across society. COVID-19 has disproportionately affected many marginalised groups, including people from LGBTQA+ communities. 

Sports and fitness play an important role in the physical and mental health and wellbeing of everyone in our society, but it’s important that everyone is given a place to participate. We need to ensure that football is a place for everyone and this year has shown how much community and allyship matter. The impact of COVID-19 means many of us need sport and physical activity more than ever and football should be a safe haven for everyone, including those from the LGBTQA+ community.

International Surrey Football aims to provide a platform to promote the amazing individuals who compete as a part of or support the Blue and Gold regardless of their sexual orientation and support the LGBTQA+ individuals and community across Surrey, and as a part of this we’re supporting the rainbow laces campaign.

If you need help or advice, you can call Stonewalls information service FREEPHONE on 08000 0502020 or visit their website. Likewise, for more information and ways to report discrimination, you can check out the Kick It Out website

To find the English FA’s policies on tackling homophobia and LGBTQ+ representation in football, click here

If you, or someone you know, would like to report homophobic abuse experience in football, contact the Surrey FA’s discipline team at discipline@surreyfa.com, or the contact the London FA’s discipline team at discipline@londonfa.com.

Return to Play Update: 18 July 2020

International Surrey Football is pleased to see that the Football Association has released their return to play plan, approved by the UK government, allowing for the resumption of grassroots football in England.

International Surrey Football will be looking closely at what the Football Association is requiring and will be doing our best to follow what has been requested and implement it into our matchday plans. We will be comparing this to our own Behind Closed Doors Fixture Plan and will provide an update at a later date. We will also be looking more closely into any potential fixture our men and women’s teams could play while taking into account the activities of club football.

You can read the FA’s plan here: http://www.surreyfa.com/news/2020/jul/18/return-of-outdoor-competitive-grassroots-football—18th-july

Return to Play Update: 9 July 2020

International Surrey Football is pleased to see today’s update from the UK Government allowing the return of grassroots sports from 11 July, initially only covering grassroots cricket. The latest announcement supports the return of grassroots sports by allowing different households to participate in training and competitive matches while ensuring the risks of transmitting Covid-19 are minimised.

Last month International Surrey Football internally prepared a return to play plan for allowing the resumption of Surrey fixtures played behind closed doors, known as our “Behind Closed Doors Fixture Plan”, which outlined the measures that would be undertaken by International Surrey Football and our opposition at any game played once a resumption of the sport was allowed, and included COVID-19 self-assessments by players, track and trace, the following of social distancing and cleaning measures outlined by the Government as a necessary requirement for any sport to return.

However, in the best interest of our players, coaches, staff and in good faith in regards to our relationship with the Surrey County FA, we will continue to wait for the FA’s own guidelines and make changes to our plans to reflect the FA-UK Government approved return to play plan.

While the Government’s statement today may allow the return of a limited number of fans to a game, with social distancing measures involved, for the foreseeable future Surrey fixtures will be held behind closed doors, but live streaming options will be made available, and details will be published when available. Details of how fans can financially support the games, such as donations and merchandise, including “tickets” and programmes, will be announced if a fixture is confirmed.

We know ours players are eager to return to play, but so are their clubs, and we will continue to give clubs first priority on the return to play, however, Surrey will be making investigations and discussions on any possible fixtures, with both our men and women’s teams available for games. In the event that a game is confirmed, there will be no publication of the venue until after the game has been held, to best limit the potential for attempted spectator attendance.

The Surrey men had 2 friendlies and the debut Southern Frontier Cup cancelled, while Surrey women had their trial fixture and a potential friendly cancelled due to COVID-19. Possible arrangements for a men’s friendly and women’s trial game will be investigated and any updates will be published on our website and social media.