Unsafe Campbelltown Stadium surface forces A-League relocation
The new A-League campaign has got off to an embarrassing start for the Macarthur Bulls, with their opening home game moved to Newcastle due the poor state of the Campbelltown Stadium pitch.
Despite the stadium’s last event being more than five months ago, photos revealed the stadium’s playing pitch to be uneven and littered with bare patches, rendering it unsafe for a game of football and forcing the game to be relocated just 48 hours prior to kick-off.
In a statement on its website, Macarthur FC said the Campbelltown Council had not informed the club of any renovation issues, and in particular of its extremely late decision to relay portions of the pitch with ready to play turf early this week.
The club only became aware of the poor pitch at 8am on Friday, with the squad scheduled to train at Campbelltown Stadium that day.
In discussions with turf contractors, council and the A-Leagues it was agreed that the pitch was not suitable for any A-League fixture.
The venue was already being readied for Sunday's fixture, with the LED ground signage partially set-up for the game.
Macarthur’s opening home game against Wellington Phoenix will now be played at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle as part of a double-header following the Jets’ opener. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.
The club had discussed a number of alternatives with the A-Leagues, including local NPL venues, however due to the non-availability of these venues and the logistics around TV broadcasting, police, security and catering, the club said there was no other feasible alternative other than to play a double header in Newcastle, which is located some 200km away.
Campbelltown City Council has blamed low temperatures and high rainfall for the failure of several patches of newly laid grass from bedding in and growing.
There are now fears the entire pitch may have to be relaid, which would force the Bulls to move more home games to alternative venues.
The new era of the A-League Men’s competition got underway Friday night in Melbourne with City defeating Brisbane Roar 2-1 in front of 7213 fans at AAMI Park. Big crowds are expected Saturday evening, with the Sydney Derby at CommBank Stadium and tickets sold-out for Perth’s season-opener at HBF Park.