Former England manager cuts ribbon on new all-weather University of Sussex sports pitch

Brighton Women boss Hope Powell (centre) officially opens the new all-weather surface
Brighton Women boss Hope Powell (centre) officially opens the new all-weather surface

Brighton & Hove Albion Women boss Hope Powell has praised the club’s long-standing collaboration with the University of Sussex after officially opening a state-of-the-art new sports pitch at the site.

The professional Albion team, who play in the top tier of women’s football, currently train on grass pitches at the university’s Falmer campus.

The players will use the new all-weather pitch at the complex when the turf is too wet. Former England manager Powell said: “I’m hoping when we get good old English bad weather that we’re going to get the opportunity to train on this fabulous surface.”

Unlike natural grass pitches, the artificial surface is more robust and performs consistently - even during periods of poor weather.

Seagulls women boss Powell was given a guided tour of the 3G pitch after cutting the ceremonial ribbon at the launch event on – which was an appropriately damp and breezy day.

“The relationship between the football club and the university is long-standing, 25 years," Powell added.

”So for the women’s team it’s an absolute privilege to be able to use the facilities in collaboration with the university.”

The university can now offer valuable training and match time not just for Brighton ladies but also for a number of community clubs in the area (including Montpelier FC, who run both a men’s and women’s senior and junior programmes.)

Head of Sport at the University of Sussex, Simon Tunley, said: “We welcome many members of the wider community who regularly use the sports facilities at Sussex and the new pitch represents an opportunity to extend and build on the valuable links we have with local sports clubs.”

Powell added: “It’s quite challenging for sports clubs. There aren’t enough pitches so to have an additional pitch for community use, and certainly for the women if we need it, is fantastic.

“And for us as Brighton it’s a real honour for us to be part of this collaboration.”

The new surface has already been put to good use, the university’s men’s rugby team were training on it as the opening ceremony took place and the men’s football team took to the field later the same day to play their match in the Varsity series against the University of Brighton. Other student teams using the pitch will include American football and ultimate frisbee.

The new pitch will also serve other student and staff activities offered by Sussexsport, such as the Active Us programme, which encourages greater participation in physical activity amongst students.

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