Bayswa­ter City will now host a Vic­to­rian team in the Na­tional Fi­nals Se­ries in In­gle­wood on Satur­day af­ter its home ground was deemed un­suit­able.

FENCE DOES NOT COM­PLY: FFA

Stirling Times - - Front Page - Kristie Lim

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 a re­cently in­stalled tem­po­rary fence did not com­ply with pitch re­quire­ments.

The Septem­ber 16 match will be played at Dor­rien Gar­dens in In­gle­wood Sta­dium.

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

Club 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 the club 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.”

An as­so­ci­a­tion of­fi­cial 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 wanted to host fu­ture NPL fi­nals it would have to in­stall a fully-en­closed per­ma­nent fence.

“Al­though teams pre­fer to play home games at their reg­u­lar grounds, the venue in In­gle­wood is within a sev­en­minute 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.

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

“It is dis­ap­point­ing from the FFA, be­cause they have not been ac­com­mo­dat­ing to the semi-pro­fes­sional clubs that are run by vol­un­teers,” he said.

IT is a shame to see Bayswa­ter City Soc­cer Club - the most suc­cess­ful Na­tional Premier League WA (NPLWA) team in 2017 - to be snubbed from host­ing a block­buster match against the Vic­to­rian cham­pi­ons Hei­del­berg United at Frank Drago Re­serve. City won the NPLWA premier­ship on the fi­nal day of the sea­son, which gave it the right to play Hei­del­berg at home. The club and the City of Bayswa­ter did ev­ery­thing they could to make last-minute ad­just­ments to the pitch and fenc­ing in an at­tempt to com­ply with Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion Aus­tralia’s (FFA) min­i­mum pitch re­quire­ments. A piv­otal home fix­ture was not meant to be and they now were faced with un­cer­tainty over whether they should in­stall a per­ma­nent fence or not, which de­pended on the re­sult of Hei­del­berg game. City fans would be bit­terly dis­ap­pointed to watch the block­buster match at In­gle­wood Sta­dium in­stead of Frank Drago Re­serve, where City have lost only one match in 2017. Kristie Lim, Re­porter

Bayswa­ter City cap­tain Trent Kay and coach Chris Coyne.

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