SYDNEY: Australia’s players’ union has joined Melbourne Victory boss Kevin Muscat in denouncing the “dangerous” Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) pitch after a player suffered a knee injury during an A-League match against Sydney FC on Saturday night.
Midfielder Terry Antonis fell to the ground untouched on the edge of the cricket square during a 2-1 loss for his side in a clash between the last two Australian champions.
The iconic ground is being used for football codes while the neighbouring Sydney Football Stadium is re-vamped and has already attracted criticism after it was torn up during a rugby match.
“It was dangerous, first and foremost,” Muscat said. “To ask players to come and work under those conditions is unacceptable. It might be a serious injury as a result from it. And for players to go out onto that, whatever it’s called, is a disgrace.”
Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) called for an independent investigation into how the match was allowed to go ahead given the “deplorable state” of the pitch, which the body said posed a “clear danger” to “player safety”.
“The players confirmed with us last night that they were not consulted at any stage on whether or not the match should proceed, notwithstanding the clear issues that the pitch presented to their livelihoods,” chief executive John Didulica said in a statement. “The PFA will ... recommend two clear resolutions for adoption. Firstly, that FFA immediately commission an independent investigation into the process undertaken to approve last night’s match as being fit for play.”