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Abandonment of game leaves Aktas seeing red

Goulburn Valley Suns coach Serkan Aktas was left fuming after his under-20 team's match against Port Melbourne Sharks was called off 15 minutes before kick-off on Saturday.

MATTHEW GALEA July 15, 2014 3:15am

Goulburn Valley Suns under-20 coach Serkan Aktas was furious his team’s fixture against Port Melbourne Sharks was controversially called off 15 minutes before kick-off on Saturday.

The match was scheduled for 1pm at JL Murphy Reserve in Port Melbourne, but the referee called the game off due to the condition of the pitch.

‘‘He thought if we played the game, they might have to cancel the senior game,’’ Aktas said.

‘‘The main pitch held up fine after the senior game, so I definitely think it could have been played.

‘‘Port Melbourne was devastated too. They even asked if we could play on the outside pitch — which wasn’t the best, but we’ve played on worse — but he said he did not have the authority to do that.’’

Aktas said the club would be making an official complaint to Football Federation Victoria.

The decision also confused Scott Keating, father of Suns under-20s goalkeeper Jake Keating, who had taken the whole family to Melbourne for the game.

‘‘It was the first time we could take all three kids to the game, so we dropped Jake off ... and when we got back at 12.50pm we got told the game had been cancelled.

‘‘No-one could believe it. Their under-20s were disgusted and left, they didn’t even hang around for the senior game.’’

The senior game kicked off at 3pm as scheduled and the pitch had no discernible major damage after the game.

Keating said it was disappointing for the game to be called off so late after making the 193km trip from Shepparton to JL Murphy Reserve.

‘‘The penalty area was a bit dug up, but that was it,’’ Keating said.

‘‘There was 0.8mm of rain that night, and if you go down and they’ve copped 3cm, then maybe I can understand.

‘‘Last week we were moved to an outside pitch at Heidelberg United and that pitch was not very good, but we still got to play.

‘‘Everyone at the ground was dumbfounded.’’

A FFV spokesperson said it was still waiting for the incident report to determine why the match was abandoned, but said officials could abandon fixtures if they felt the match would affect the ability of the pitch to host the senior match.

‘‘The match official will conduct a ground inspection prior to the game to determine if it’s playable or not,’’ the spokesperson said.

‘‘They will generally inspect the pitch for standing water, muddy areas, more specifically in the goal mouth areas, while also considering the weather conditions at that time.

‘‘In this instance, the second pitch at JL Murphy Reserve is too small and does not meet the minimum pitch requirements to host NPL under-20 fixtures.’’

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