Bermuda Athletic Association

BAA denied new pitch party

By Josh Ball

BAA Field will officially open for business on Sunday, but the home side won’t be around to see it. While Robin Hood and MR Onions are taking advantage of the new $1million dollar Field Turf facility, BAA will be in St. George’s taking on the Colts at Wellington Oval. The closest the owners are likely to get to their new field is during a small opening ceremony they hope to be able to hold at 2 p.m. on Sunday.BAA Field opening

Workmen put the finishing touches to BAA’s new pitch yesterday in preparation for this weekend’s opening games.

That’s after the Hood and Onions game has finished, and only if the Bermuda Football Association agree to move the kick-off time forward half an hour to 12 p.m. For BAA president John Doran the governing body’s failure to allow his club to begin the new season at their new look ground is a ‘disappointing oversight’. The first time that BAA will play on their home ground isn’t until Saturday, October 10, when they face Social Club at 8 p.m. Doran has spent the last week trying to rectify that, hoping St George’s, Robin Hood or the BFA would help his side out, all to no avail. “We’ve tried, but they (the BFA) are not moving it,” said Doran.

“St. George’s didn’t want to switch the game, and then we tried to push the game (between Robin Hood and MR Onions) to 4 p.m, and then Robin Hood had a problem with that, and they wouldn’t cancel it because they wanted to play this weekend. So we’re trying at least to play the (Hood and Onions) game at 12 p.m, so this way they are finished around 2 p.m. so we can at least do a little opening ceremony. “We had a whole line-up of stuff that we wanted to do, little kids’ games, and stuff like that, a fun castle and bits and pieces, and officially open it, you know.

“It’s an oversight, exactly that. I don’t know, I guess it’s so much pressure with the BFA running late anyway to try and get all the fixtures in. Nobody wanted to accommodate us, put it that way. It’s a bit disappointing, but such is life, we’ll work around it.”

The easiest option would have been to switch the game with St. George’s Colts to another weekend, something that would have had minimal impact on all concerned. And while St. George’s may have complained about a loss of revenue, the large crowd at Wellington Oval for the Charity Cup last weekend would have more than covered any perceived shortfall in income.

Moving the Robin Hood fixture to 4 p.m. would have at least allowed BAA to have a proper opening ceremony during the early part of Sunday afternoon, but then the BFA said the assistant referees couldn’t do that because they were required for Premier Divison games which begin at 3 p.m. The most BAA can hope for is to be able to get Sunday’s game switched to 12 p.m., and even then the first team will miss the occasion because they will be travelling back from St George’s.

“While some teams were kind of willing to accommodate, the ultimate thing was they (St. George’s) wanted the game to go ahead and even the BFA said ‘well if it’s a 4 p.m. game we have two assistants that have a Premier game at 3 p.m’.,” said Doran. “So there was always one obstacle after another, so we said OK, if we can do the game at 12 p.m. that would be great, and we’re still waiting for a decision on that.

“So we’re just planning on that basis. They shouldn’t have an issue to move it (the Robin Hood game) forward to 12 p.m.. I can’t see them being funny about it, and all they have to do is go to the executive and make a decision.”

BAA are waiving all entry fees to Sunday’s game in the hope that a large number of supporters will turn out for the first game of the new season, and stay around to support the opening ceremony. Letters have already been sent to BAA members inviting them along, and Doran is hoping they will stay to watch a reduced opening ceremony that will include a youth game in some form.

The club will officially take delivery of their new facility at 5 p.m. today, and the First Division squad will be given the chance to have a brief run-out at their new home during training tomorrow evening.

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