Football 1 year ago

No excuses for sub-standard pitches: PFA

  • No excuses for sub-standard pitches: PFA

    SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 04: Chris Ikonomidis of the Socceroos is tackled by Sokratis Papastathopoulos of Greece during the international friendly match between the Australian Socceroos and Greece at ANZ Stadium on June 4, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has slammed ANZ Stadium's pitch, declaring he's embarrassed to have hosted Greece on such a shoddy playing surface.

In a heated spray after Saturday night's 1-0 friendly win, Postecoglou delivered a damning assessment on the torn-up surface he said was cheating fans and had the potential to put Australia's World Cup qualification in jeopardy.

Stadium officials ruled the well-draining pitch fit for play despite heavy rain on Friday night which followed Wednesday night's State of Origin opener.

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However the morass proved a challenge for both teams in the match, decided by Mathew Leckie's 93rd-minute winner.

"I've said it before and I'll keep saying it, I'm really embarrassed," Postecoglou said.

"We've got an international team here that we're hosting and we're supposed to be the sporting nation of the world.

"The crowd were fantastic (but) I felt sorry for them ... it's just not good enough.

"Hopefully other people take notice, because we're representing our country.

"I can tell you what the Greek players were saying when they were coming off the pitch, and they're too polite to say anything publicly.

"But I'm embarrassed, as coach of our national team, that that's what we dish up.

"We have world-class venues, world-class atmospheres, our supporters are second to none - we love our sport.

"But in our game and our game alone, the pitch is actually an essential part of the spectacle.

"If that's not good then we're cheating people."

Postecoglou, who has called for a football-only venue in Australia, said the inadequate playing surface let down fans who'd come to watch the Socceroos play their high-tempo game.

And while this was a friendly, important competitive matches lay ahead from September, when Australia will host five of their 10 World Cup qualifiers including a hit-out with tough rivals Japan.

"Our whole World Cup qualification could hinge on it," Postecoglou said.

"Do we not want the conditions to suit us? To present a pitch that suits our style of game to get that advantage?

"I'm sure when we play in Japan they will, so we shouldn't have to prove we're some sort of pedigree before we get what I think our nation deserves."

Skipper Mile Jedinak described the pitch as "pretty shocking".

"Being a Sydney-sider it's something I'm not very proud of, something seriously needs to be done," he said.

"It wasn't the prettiest, it wasn't nice ... you're asking these teams to come out here and travel all the way from Europe, it's not the way you want the game to be presented.

"If it was a crucial game and we needed the win, and with our style of play, would we accept it? It's not ideal that's for sure."

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