SFS pitch not perfect, but Trust to keep trying

By Emma Kemp, Emma Kemp is a Roar Guru

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    SCG Trust chairman Tony Shepherd has flagged a potential Allianz Stadium pitch refurbishment as a key benefit for long-term tenants Sydney FC.

    As expected, the Sky Blues have renewed their lease and will call the venue home for a further 10 years.

    While being major tenants, Graham Arnold’s A-League champions may again face a problematic playing surface once the Super Rugby and NRL seasons start back up in early 2018.

    Neither Shepherd nor Sydney chairman Scott Barlow were willing to divulge any specifics of the lease regarding surface standards.

    But Shepherd was still hopeful of a state government windfall as part of a $1 billion-plus investment in stadiums across Sydney.

    “As you are aware we have sought funding from the state government to upgrade the stadium, which includes a complete pitch refurbishment,” Shepherd said.

    “We’re waiting on a response on that and hopefully we’ll get a positive answer.

    “But it’s important to us to have retained Sydney FC and have them satisfied with the quality of facilities, including the pitch.

    “They are great partners and we will do everything in our power to look after them.”

    Shepherd stressed there was thorough and ongoing consultation with Sydney on the timing and particulars of heavy cross-code traffic.

    He also suggested Football Federation Australia get in early to ensure that, should the Sky Blues host the grand final again, there’ll be no repeat of a Waratahs home game less than 24 hours prior.

    That was despite ground staff’s excellent work in pulling off such a short turnaround for this month’s season-decider.

    “It would be good if – and this is easier said than done – we could get a lot more notice,” Shepherd said.

    “The other sports are scheduled a year out so you can’t just go to them and say `sorry you’re dispossessed’, because that’s not fair.

    “But if we could get a bit more notice on grand finals that would help.

    “In our arrangements with Sydney FC we have consultation a year out for every season and we use our best endeavours to achieve certain outcomes for them.

    “We don’t control scheduling but we try to influence in terms of avoiding double-headers, back-ups and 24-hour turnarounds if we can.

    “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t … but I think, generally speaking, we’ve been remarkably successful.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • May 18th 2017 @ 8:04am
      Chris said | May 18th 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

      I wonder if those gin swilling SCG board members have heard of hybrid grass surfaces?

    • May 18th 2017 @ 8:28am
      Nemesis said | May 18th 2017 @ 8:28am | ! Report

      Here’s a thought for the donkeys on the SCG Trust.

      1) After the final NRL match at SFS, dig up the pitch
      2) Install 21st century drainage
      3) Lay hybrid turf
      Here are some suppliers of hybrid turf in Australia
      a) http://hgsportsturf.com.au/product/grassmaster/
      b) http://www.dessosports.com/hybrid-grass

      4) If this this is too confusing just call AAMI Park & ask them to Project Manage Steps (1) to (3)

      • May 18th 2017 @ 8:34am
        Caltex & SBS support Australian Football said | May 18th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

        Hear, hear..!

    • May 18th 2017 @ 10:36am
      Square Nostrils said | May 18th 2017 @ 10:36am | ! Report

      There’s no doubt the surface can be made playable for professional football and given Sydney FC’s new contract for 10 years one would presume it will be.
      There’s no skin off the other two sports nose regarding a better playing surface and Sydney FC, if they really have turned a corner and can reach the magical 20,000 average, deserve no less.
      Personally I hope Arnie can find a guest player that not only pulls in the crowds ,but adds to the team effort, Sydney as a football market needs such a player to maintain that average.

    • May 18th 2017 @ 2:25pm
      Ken Spacey said | May 18th 2017 @ 2:25pm | ! Report

      Most of what was said by the trust guys above is empty rhetoric. Not only is Union the number one surface killer but I would imagine they are the most resistant to the hybrid idea. The fact that one tenant of arguably declining importance can call the shots is unfair to the others. The SCG trust may also wish to note that there are other Football events that fall into the 25-40,000 crowd range but can still be played at the Olympic stadium if Allianz is terrible. Only takes an injury to a smaller EPL or Euro club star and the word will be out. Sure tour Oz but don’t play at that stadium.

      • May 18th 2017 @ 3:20pm
        Nemesis said | May 18th 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

        No reason Union should oppose the hybrid turf.

        It’s used at AAMI Park & Melbourne Rebels & Storm play there.
        It’s also used at Rugby venues in Europe & Sth Africa.

        • May 18th 2017 @ 3:41pm
          Ken Spacey said | May 18th 2017 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

          So it would seem the only barrier is pigheadedness or perceived costs. As I implied above the costs of losing potential business should outweigh the short term costs of the hybrid installation. Unless there are people on the SCG Trust who aren’t really dedicated to optimising the venue’s event roster.

    • May 18th 2017 @ 5:53pm
      Sydneysider said | May 18th 2017 @ 5:53pm | ! Report

      “Not only is Union the number one surface killer but I would imagine they are the most resistant to the hybrid idea. The fact that one tenant of arguably declining importance can call the shots is unfair to the others.”

      Agree totally.

      There are 3 tenants at the SFS:

      SFC
      Sydney Roosters
      Waratahs

      SFC play the most home games and average the highest of those 3 clubs. In addition the FFA has scheduled games there for the Socceroos as well.

      A bit of respect from the SCG Trust board should be shown.

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