The Wanderers A-League Round 7 fixture against Wellington Phoenix has been postponed, with questions raised as to the legitimacy of the "poor surface" excuse.
Reports were filed late in the afternoon that the game against Wellington had been postponed due to a poor playing surface, and these reports were soon confirmed by the Wanderers club.
Sydney Showground has not been used by the Wanderers since Round 2 on October 14. Since then, the stadium playing surface was apparently put through a process of relaying to "transition" between the "winter" grass used during the AFL season, to the "summer" grass used during the Cricket & A-League season. Despite the month of time spent between games, it became apparent that the surface had not grown in as previously expected.
Despite the month long absence, neither the Wanderers or the Sydney Showground appear to have bothered setting up a contingency plan, that could have included moving the game to Penrith, Campbelltown, Stadium Australia next door, or even an option such as the synthetic pitch at Sydney United Edensor Park or Lilys Stadium.
There has been no explanation provided yet as to why the game couldn't be moved. Fortunately for the Wanderers, Football Federation Australia appear to have elected not to introduce any punishment to the club, such as a fine or a forfeit such as might happen in a European competition. The delay will likely be beneficial to the Wellington Phoenix, who have players coming back from their international duty in Peru.
The game will be rescheduled at some point in the future, I would suggest likely dates being the weekend of the 9-11 February, or a midweek fixture from 26-28 December or 13-15 March. This scheduling disaster caps off the terrible transition the Wanderers have had in their temporary "home" of the Olympic Precinct. If the Wanderers leadership aren't filled with apocalyptic rage at yet another blunder from the AFL loving Showground they need to take a good hard look at themselves. Supporters are already having to put up with ignorant security staff and a precinct that resembles a morgue that's closed for the weekend anyway, and now they are causing fixture scheduling issues.
Sydney Showground had scheduled an on-pitch rave dance party "Sensation Australia" for the Showground on the 25th of November. A press release for the dance party confirmed that the large set would take an entire week to build and start on Friday the 17th. Now, I question how could the Showground & the Wanderers have possibly played a football game on the Sydney Showground while it was being swarmed by a 100 person construction crew? Have the fans been lied to about this cancellation? Have the Wanderers been booted off our stadium because the Showground booked in a one-off dance party despite our club having confirmed our home fixtures months ago? These are serious questions that need to be answered.
If the stated reason for the postponement is true, that the stadium surface is unplayable and unable to grow properly, I question why the Showground allowed this concert to continue? These high impact events cannot possibly be good for a surface which has already been struggling to grow to an acceptable level, and as we've seen in the past, these events have impact far beyond the few days the event is taking place on. I wonder when we do eventually return, will the pitch will have been ruined by construction and thousands of people walking on it? The Western Sydney Stadium at Parramatta cannot come soon enough for the Wanderers and their fans.