Leiden, March 7, 2021, 6:12 p.m. by editors
The Roomburgerpark referendum will take place on March 15, 16 and 17. The residents of Leiden can then vote for or against the proposed redevelopment of the park. Every week, Sleutelstad checks claims about the plan. In that fact, check: what about the number of members of the Roomburg hockey club, is this extra field necessary?
The new buildable multi-purpose synthetic turf pitch is an important part of the discussion surrounding the Roomburgerpark plan. Roomburg Hockey Club has been waiting for years for additional land and the Municipality of Leiden recognizes the need to expand the club. Opponents of the plan say the LHC Roomburg does not need the additional space itself and therefore find it unacceptable that greenery is giving way to plastic in the park. How green the park is after redevelopment is part of a subsequent fact check. This time around, the need for the growth of the Leiden Hockey Club is coming under scrutiny.
This is what the lawyers say
LHC Roomburg has been working with the municipality for years on the construction of an additional hockey field. The association’s maximum capacity, with over 1,300 members, was reached with three of its own pitches, a training venue at the Sporting Trigon korfball club and an additional competition ground at the University Sports Center.
For years the club had to reject new young members. In view of an additional field in the Roomburgerpark, additional members have been hired in recent years. As a result, teams are now overcrowded, sometimes with twenty members instead of the fourteen or fifteen players desired. There is also too little space to be able to play all the matches on site. As a result, ten teams are scheduled to play their home games in the Bio Science Park and home games are regularly played with the opponents.
The club says membership continues to grow, but is being reduced by lack of space. Young people can also see growth every year. A large part of the young people live near the LHC Roomburg.
This is what the opponents say
Opponents of the plan argue that additional space is not needed. They refer, among others, to the 2021 annual plan of the Dutch Hockey Association (KNHB). We can read that the number of hockey players has decreased nationally since the 2017-2018 season, mainly among young people. They also refer to four other hockey clubs in the region: Alecto (Leiderdorp), Forescate (Voorschoten), LOHC (Oegstgeest) and the student association Thor (Leiden). According to opponents, there is enough room in these clubs to accommodate the surplus LHC Roomburg and all clubs are within 15 minutes by bike. They also think that “playing at the club of your first preference is not necessarily necessary”.
The opponents themselves conclude on the basis of figures from the National Hockey Association that hockey will not grow in the future and therefore no additional ground is needed in the future.
What does the hockey association say?
The Dutch hockey association writes that the number of members has decreased nationally since the 2017-2018 season and that this decrease is reflected in the number of young players. However, the fact that the sport will not develop further in the future is not reflected in the documents. The union itself is focused on growth. “In 2021, we want to break this trend and at least achieve a stabilization of the total number of members. Membership numbers appear to be stabilizing in 2020 and a slight increase in the receipt of team assignments is to be expected.
Conclusion: the number of members has decreased at the national level. The Dutch hockey association aims to increase membership again and has drawn up an action plan to this effect.
Is Roomburg Hockey Club Growing?
According to the hockey association, the number of members per association has declined nationally since the 2017-18 season. This is due to the decrease in the number of young members since the 2014-2015 season. The trend is different at the LHC Roomburg. During the 2017-2018 season, the club had 1288 player members, in 2020-2021 it will be 1328. The number of young members also continues to grow. From 778 for the 2014-2015 season, to 861 for 2020-2021.
Conclusion: The total number of members and the number of young members of LHC Roomburg is increasing and therefore deviating from the national trend.
How many fields does the Roomburg LHC need?
Based on the hockey association’s calculation models, a calculation was made in 2017 for how many pitches the LHC Roomburg needed at that time, what the expected growth was and how many pitches were on it. . The table below shows three categories: ‘Saturday 50%’ where the pitch requirement is based on the assumption that exactly half of the teams will play at home and away, ‘Saturday 60%’ ‘where a margin is integrated because in practice, it is often not the case that exactly half of the teams play at home and “Sunday” where the occupation of the field is indicated on Sunday (much quieter ).
The table shows that Roomburg with the current membership in three fields does not have enough for the games that take place on Saturday.
A logical question is why there will be no more play on Sunday, since there is still room there. This is due to the rules and guidelines that apply to the sport. A Saturday Championship match cannot be scheduled for a Sunday only. For example, youth teams must be scheduled on Sunday before 11 a.m. and the opponent must agree to switch to Sunday. As a result, it is not possible to compensate for the shortage of field on Saturday one-on-one with more matches on Sunday.
We must also take into account the difference between sand fields (7 matches per day possible) and increasingly emerging water fields (6 matches per day possible). Since calculations, two of Roomburg’s sand fields have been replaced with more modern water-based fields. As a result, two fewer games can be scheduled per Saturday and therefore more “pitch” is needed. The newly planned field is also a sand field.
It is striking that the forecast for 2018 is still in line with reality, but the forecast for 2021 is now well ahead (forecast 1597 members, reality 1328 members). Not surprising in itself, since Roomburg itself does not have the number of hockey fields required for this growth. But it also means that the club do not need the 5+ pitches planned at the moment.
Conclusion: the number of fields corresponding to the current number of members is greater than 4 fields. LHC Roomburg therefore needs an additional field for the current number of members.
Is there room in the clubs in the region?
The latest figures available from the hockey association are from 2017. Based on this, it appears that there is a surplus of land in the area on Sunday. As explained above, the lack of space on Saturday cannot be simply compensated for on Sunday.
Key City checked with clubs in the area to see if there was room for additional young hockey players from Leiden:
- Alecto in Leiderdorp (17 minutes by bike) has had to deal with a slight drop in membership in recent years, in part due to Leiderdorp’s aging. Especially with the youngest and the line of boys, there is room for growth within the association.
- Forescate in Voorschoten (16 minutes by bike) indicates that it has reached the maximum capacity for the number of fields. There is no more room for young members and the association is working with waiting lists. Forescate emphasizes the importance of sport in your own environment. Welcoming athletes elsewhere in the region creates unnecessary travel (often also by car), which is not good for the environment and safety.
- LOHC in Oegstgeest (20 minutes by bike) indicated that they did not see themselves as a party in the discussion and did not feel the need to respond to it in terms of content.
- Thor (17 minutes by bike) is a student association without young members. Roomburg is already using the grounds of the University Sports Center.
Conclusion: Alecto has room for the young members of Leiden. LOHC can have space. Forescate and Thor have no room for additional young members of Leiden.
What happens if a field is added or not?
Ten teams from LHC Roomburg are currently playing their home games at the University Sports Center, where the Thor student association also plays. For Roomburg, this has always been a temporary fix until its own fourth field is realized. In practice, this is an undesirable situation for the club because it involves many difficulties.
Besides the fact that young people have to cycle through the city for more than fifteen minutes to get to the pitch, the opponents are also often in the wrong place. Roomburg doesn’t want to continue playing here. If no additional fields are added, these teams will be phased out. This means that 170 members can no longer play Roomburg.
If an additional pitch is made, there will be room for two more teams of fifteen players each, in addition to the ten teams currently playing at the University Sports Center. Around thirty additional members can then be admitted.
Conclusion: Whether or not an additional hockey field is built in Roomburg saves 200 young members who can play hockey in Leiden.
Leiden Sport fact check referendum Roomburgerpark Roomburgerpark redevelopment plan