Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

West Ward By-election

November 10, 2014

West Ward By-Election is being held on Saturday 15th November

When casting your vote remember Council’s Liberal / Labor alliance to lay artificial turf on Arlington Reserve.

The cost has blown out to over $2 million and they still need to buy machinery to maintain the surface.

Prior to the last council election Clr Tsardoulias published a flyer saying he would not support artificial turf on Arlington Reserve if elected. At the first meeting of the new council he then voted with the rest of the Labor councillors to lay artificial turf on Arlington Reserve.

Promises broken:

  • Insufficient parking – Parking has always been an issue and council has done nothing to address this. With the opening of the light rail parking spaces have actually been removed!
  • Increased team usage – Summer competitions and trials for Sydney Olympic FC are being held. This means that the field can be hired, by those who can afford it, 7 days a week and evenings. Could this mean an evening mid week competition during the summer months?
  • Community usage decreased – Local schools and other community groups cannot afford the fees to use the field.

Let’s not be fooled again!

Ask the candidates where they stand on the usage of the field and the effect that has on the local community.

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What the FIFA?!?

May 20, 2013

Amongst the items mentioned in Council’s February report on Arlington is $10,000 every 3 years for FIFA 1-Star Accreditation of the new surface. Marrickville Council flagging it as a cost is surprising.

At TOMORROW NIGHT’S Council meeting, you’ll hear 8 questions-on-notice from Councillor Mark Gardiner answered by Council, among them: “Please advise why Council would assume costs of accreditation to FIFA 1 Star of an artificial surface at Arlington”.

Council’s answer raises even more questions:

“FIFA standards provide two levels of playing surface certification. FIFA 1 Star is intended for community and municipal use generally at club level whilst FIFA 2 Star accreditation is intended for professional level. Specifying FIFA 1 Star, at least at the initial construction phase, is considered essential to ensure an acceptable quality of workmanship, surface quality and durability is delivered by the contractor suitable for intended use. “

I draw your attention to FIFA’s document on their accreditation scheme (fqc_football_turf_folder_342 PDF):  1-Star accreditation is intended for “National Training & Matchplay, Municipality”, in other words, not just ‘local’ municipal level matches, but state and national grade matches.  The interesting bit is what 2-Star accreditation (which costs even more) is for: it’s a much newer standard that acknowledges “player’s feedback, medical research, test results and information from the industry since the implementation [of the 1-Star accreditation] in 2001”, given the  increased performance of modern artificial surfaces (e.g.. “4th generation”) that come closer to approximating “the perfect natural grass pitch model” (so, real grass is better after all, eh?), and is intended for “Top clubs, Stadia, International Matchplay”.

Here’s the rub:

  1. Council have under-stated what 1-Star accreditation is intended for
  2. FIFA 1-Star accreditation appears to not adequately measure the greater * medical research * and more accurate playability of modern (‘4th generation’?) artificial turf
  3. Council has included $10,000 every 3 years for this 1-Star accreditation at the same time that certain Councillors have promised that “usage of Arlington won’t increase” – that is, Arlington will remain used by DHFC & SHFC only – which is all the surrounding facilities of parking and traffic and noise-impact can accommodate.

If you want a new artificial surface installed to FIFA 1-Star specifications, fine, specify that in your tender documents – but why bother paying for the piece of FIFA-paper when (a) it doesn’t really mean anything IN THIS DECADE, and (b) it’s not required for Arlington’s current, future-promised, and practical level of usage?

Lets ignore the apparent meaninglessness of FIFA 1-Star accreditation nowadays – if that’s what the industry wants to be fleeced for, so be it.

Does Council’s pursuit of FIFA 1-Star accreditation signal an intention, or simply leave open the possible use of Arlington for state level matches, regardless of the impact on local residents – which is exactly what happened at Northbridge ?

Somebody, please! Think of the children!

May 18, 2013

At the Council meeting last 19th February, this was the shameful mantra implied to justify Council’s evenly divided vote (6-for, 6-against) for artificial turf on Arlington Reserve – childhood obesity.  Council wheeled in “professional experts” to lecture us so.

We’re all for strategies and proven solutions for tackling that problem.  What is shameful and deceptive of the pro-artificial turf lobby is their suggestion and linking of the two as having any impact on the issue of childhood obesity.

Arlington Reserve is already the most expensive field to hire in the entire Marrickville LGA – about 30% more than all the others.  Why?  It’s a good question…  What we DO know for sure – because Council wrote so – is that Arlington is “unique” in the entire Marrickville LGA by being ‘Home’ to TWO soccer clubs, despite the recommendation of Football NSW.  So Arlington’s surface suffers accordingly as the winter season progresses.  Perhaps Council has raised the casual hiring rate to dissuade non-soccer users, so as to preserve Arlington’s over-stretched capacity for the almost exclusive use of soccer clubs?

This isn’t a wild accusation, it’s a genuine question – why is Arlington so much more expensive than all the other LGA fields?  We know of at least two situations where this is detrimentally affecting “equitable access”.  One is a nearby school who wanted to hold their annual sports carnival on Arlington last year, but were quoted a hiring cost they just couldn’t afford.  That is NOW – with natural turf.  We know of another school who regularly bring children to another nearby park for casual play, because they’re flat out refused permission to use Arlington, for free or for a fee (which they’d never be able to afford on a weekly basis).  And lets not even get into the bizarre logic of one government-funded facility charging another government-funded entity for access to it’s local community’s facilities…  parents pay school fees, and a subset of them pay soccer club membership fees, but only soccer is allowed onto Arlington.  Let us repeat – this is the situation NOW, with natural turf.  Despite the rhetoric you might’ve heard, it doesn’t get better with artificial turf.

Council have stated openly that for artificial turf to be economically viable, either hiring fees need to rise dramatically, or the hours-of-use need to rise dramatically, which is an economic rationalists way of saying ‘both need to rise as much as possible’.  BUT WAIT!  Certain Councillors have also promised “usage of Arlington won’t increase”!  Despite there being nothing written anywhere to back up that ‘promise’, it suggests that the cost to hire Arlington must increase dramatically, for soccer clubs and casual hirers alike.

DHFC & SHFC already field a wide age range of children’s teams.  We see them every Saturday or Sunday morning.  It’s a joy to see.

But will they, or their club collectively, still be able to afford an artificially turfed field’s hiring cost?  And don’t forget, there’s an extra different set of football boots need to be put on young rapidly growing feet to play on artificial turf.

Must one only play soccer to conform with the pro-artificial turf lobby’s idea of how to tackle childhood obesity?  Because artificial turf also LIMITS the range of sports that can be played on the field, even for those who might be able to afford it.  It. Makes. No. Sense.

So can someone please tell us, how does the huge capital cost, and a massively increased hiring cost, of an artificially turfed Arlington Reserve help tackle childhood obesity?  It doesn’t.  It was a shameful ploy to justify an ulterior agenda pushed through a divided Council.