Tuesday 15 January 2019, 11:51

State-of-the-art floodlights and pitch accommodation help grow game in Georgia

English sailors, in the early 20th Century, introduced football in the port of Poti on the Black Sea Coast and initiated the local populations to the joys of the beautiful game. Since then the number of passionate fans of football in Georgia keeps increasing, with a large amount of the 5 million-strong population among their number.

It was not until 1990 though, that the proud Georgians had their own national team, after their stars had formerly played for the Soviet Union. Today, the Georgian Football Federation (GFF) is a dynamic and active participant in the world of football with impressive and constant development of the game.

For some years, the GFF has been focused on improving and renovating its sports infrastructures throughout the country, a venture in which the GFF is now strongly supported by the FIFA Forward Programme.

To fulfil this ambitious vision, a first step was successfully undertaken with the completion of the renovation of the regional technical centre of Rustavi, the fifth biggest city in Georgia located only 30 km away from the main capital Tbilisi. To transform the centre into a state-of-the-art facility, which is in compliance with international standards, its power supply and safety were considerably upgraded with the instalment of full size football pitch floodlighting, outer perimeter lighting, including sufficient cabling designed and installed on site with the support of local providers.

Additionally, power and other electric systems, along with full size football pitches and a dormitory facility were added to the structure. In today’s football world, adequate and sustainable lighting for football fields is an essential element in the ongoing viability of any venue. It is important to have the correct level of lighting chosen for the particular need of each playing and training field. This also allows players of all age categories to train safely and effectively at night, or even in the late afternoon throughout the year in compliance with the latest technologies, innovations, products and services.

Most recently, in 2018, Georgia were the first team to earn promotion in the new UEFA Nations League. They scored the event's first goal in a UEFA Nations League D game in Kazakhstan before beating Latvia twice and Andorra, attaining promotion with two games still to spare. This success was due, in part, to the effort and dedication by all members of the GFF. Developing innovative and sustainable infrastructures accessible to all fans undeniably played a major role in this process.

There is no doubt that this is only the beginning and that the Georgian National Team and younger generations will continue to benefit from this hard work in the long term.