Football: A-League pitch criticized by Melbourne club coach

The coach of a leading Australian soccer club has blamed sports organizers for providing an “unsafe” playing surface, after a key player suffered a knee injury in a major defeat on Saturday.

Melbourne Victory Football Club coach Kevin Muscat “attacked” Australia’s A-League decision-makers for the Sydney Cricket Ground pitch, where his midfielder Terry Antonis “collapsed onto the turf untouched” in their 2-1 loss to Sydney Football Club in the New South Wales state capital, the ABC news channel reported on Sunday.

Muscat did not confirm whether the injury came as a result of the ground conditions, which sports commentator Andy Harper described as “patchwork”, but replays showed Antonis’ leg “appeared to give way on the edge of the cricket square”, according to the channel.

The coach did not use the conditions as an excuse for his team’s defeat but criticized game administrators for giving the match the green light.

“The result is one thing tonight. But to ask players to come and work under those conditions is unacceptable,” Muscat said.

“It might be a serious injury as a result from it. And for players to go out onto that, whatever it’s called, is a disgrace,” he added.

The Professional Footballers Association released a statement on Sunday morning, asking for answers as to how the game was allowed to proceed, the channel reported.

It is was the second time in a month that the ground has gone under scrutiny, following safety issues in March that saw venue staff scrambling to re-lay 3,000 square meters of turf ahead of a National Rugby League opening round match, according to the channel.