Light! More light!

New Football League criteria for the standard of floodlights that have to be met by the 2014-15 season may hit financially struggling clubs in Leagues 1 and 2 hard, as well as those Conference clubs that aspire to Football League status.   Most Championship club either meet the new standards or could afford to do so.

New Football League criteria for the standard of floodlights that have to be met by the 2014-15 season may hit financially struggling clubs in Leagues 1 and 2 hard, as well as those Conference clubs that aspire to Football League status.   Most Championship club either meet the new standards or could afford to do so.

Having a new system installed costs around £250,000 to £300,000.  There will be no central funding of any kind.   Brightness is measured by the ‘lux value’ of lights.  In the Championship the lux value has to be increased from 300-500 to 500-800 by the end of the 2014-15 campaign.   Lighting strength in Leagues One and Two must rise from 210-350 to 300-500.

The strength of lights is measured by a series of 88 on-pitch readings taken with a light meter on a grid pattern.   The League requires a test certificate and a chart to be submitted every two years.  Failure to do so counts as misconduct, but there is no standard punishment.  

The League would probably consider real financial difficulties faced by a club as mitigating circumstances in the short run, but ultimately they could, for example, require midweek fixtures to be played in the daytime which would cut attendances and revenues.

I can remember the days when most clubs did not have floodlights.   Matches had to start in the early afternoon in the winter and even then it could be difficult to see what was going on by the end of the game, although there was much less (if any) time added on whereas these days eight or even ten minutes is not unusual.

Floodlights have become very much part of the matchday experience and there is something special about the atmosphere of a night game.   Even the Victorians tried to stage night games with flaming staffs, but it didn’t really provide enough light, quite apart from any smoke.  We also use floodlight towers to spot grounds we are not familiar with, although they are disappearing as lights are set into the stands.

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