Guardian Express - - NEWS -

NA­TIONAL Premier League WA (NPLWA) champions Bayswa­ter City will not host Vic­to­rian champions Hei­del­berg United at Frank Drago Re­serve af­ter the Football Fed­er­a­tion Aus­tralia (FFA) said that a re­cently in­stalled tem­po­rary fence did not com­ply with pitch re­quire­ments.

The match will be played at In­gle­wood Sta­dium in­stead.

Bayswa­ter City’s 2017 premier­ship gave them the chance to host Hei­del­berg United in the Na­tional Fi­nals Se­ries on Septem­ber 16 but they were told by the FFA two weeks ago that they had to widen their pitch at Frank Drago Re­serve from 62m to 64m by in­stalling a tem­po­rary fence.

The club’s vice-pres­i­dent Ori­ano Colli said the fence was in­stalled at a cost of $600 to the club and an in­de­pen­dent en­gi­neer ap­proved the grounds for crowd con­trol but the FFA in­formed them on Septem­ber 4 that the pitch was not com­pli­ant.

“Football West along with the Football Fed­er­a­tion Aus­tralia said ‘if you guys re­move your fence, widen your pitch and put a tem­po­rary fence in; that would be ad­e­quate for the game’,” he said.

“We widened the pitch based on their rec­om­men­da­tion, they re­ally mis­led us.”

A FFA spokesman said the tem­po­rary fence did not match the FFA’s min­i­mum venue re­quire­ments of 64m to 75m in width and 100m to 110m in length so the club had to nom­i­nate an­other venue.

A Football West spokesman said if the club wants to host fu­ture NPL fi­nals it would have to in­stall a ful­lyen­closed per­ma­nent fence.

“Al­though teams pre­fer to play home games at their reg­u­lar grounds, the venue in In­gle­wood is within a seven-minute drive of Bayswa­ter City’s home ground,” he said.

City of Bayswa­ter Mayor Barry McKenna said the City and the club worked on turf ren­o­va­tions and the pro­fes­sional in­stal­la­tion of a crowd bar­rier last week and was dis­ap­pointed with the out­come.

“We feel the lim­ited ad­vice from FFA and last minute in­spec­tion time ham­pered our com­bined ef­forts to ad­dress any short­falls in the new pitch re­quire­ments,” he said.

Cr McKenna said the City would con­tinue to work with the club, FFA and Football West to rec­tify pitch re­quire­ments at Frank Drago Re­serve.

Mr Colli said while the club was pre­pared to in­stall a per­ma­nent fence if they beat Hei­del­berg and hosted the next round but they did not have an “abun­dance of cash”.

“The chances are we will not be host­ing a game this year and it will have to be next year,” he said.

“We did the deal on Septem­ber 5 with In­gle­wood United but we don’t get the bar or the can­teen… the man­i­fest of host­ing at a dif­fer­ent venue would prob­a­bly be in the re­gion of about $5000.

“It is dis­ap­point­ing from the FFA, be­cause they have not been ac­com­mo­dat­ing to the semi-pro­fes­sional clubs that are run by vol­un­teers, es­pe­cially in WA where we have lim­ited re­sources and we are do­ing ev­ery­thing we can.”

Bayswa­ter City will play Hei­del­berg United at In­gle­wood Sta­dium on Septem­ber 16.

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