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
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.