Soccer scheduling needs fixing after heat problem in Perth

DAVID Gallop celebrated his one-year anniversary as chief executive of Football Federation Australia this week.

In that time the former NRL boss has not got a lot wrong. But he and his A-League counterparts certainly made the wrong decision on Saturday with Perth Glory and Adelaide United players forced to do battle in the searing West Australian heat.

To schedule a game at 2.30pm in Perth was nothing short of ridiculous, especially with the temperatures forecast to reach a maximum of 37C.

It was a little cooler come game time, but not much, and to ask teams to play in 32C as it was at kick-off, was frankly dangerous and could have easily been avoided.

Perth Glory coach Alistair Edwards took a swipe at the FFA about the scheduling and he had every right to be "raging inside", as he described his mood, especially as the club had already requested a move to a 6.45pm kick-off.

Granted, that was probably more of a marketing exercise by the Glory as they wanted to unveil marquee man William Gallas. But Edwards and his opposite number Josep Gombau were also rightly concerned about the safety of their players.

The game was stopped at regular intervals for the players to take fluids but they should never have been put in that position in the first place.

I can understand Edwards' frustrations when he blasted the FFA but unfortunately he is more likely to cop a fine rather than the FFA make a switch if the same thing happens in the future.

Edwards, formerly employed by FFA, said he was disappointed he could not pick his star player and fans were also given short shrift - and I have to agree.

"Gallas would have started the game but there's no way that we can play a player like that who just hopped off the plane," Edwards said.

"There's no way that I'm going to do that to a player like Gallas, say 'hey, welcome to Australia, 35C and good luck. Hope you don't get injured'. It's not fair on him and it's not fair on any of the players actually."

"Everyone's missed out. We're trying to grow the game in this country by bringing in all these world-class players in here but the timing of the game means we couldn't do that.

"I hope we don't ever have to put our elite athletes under that duress ever again. It's just dangerous and I think it's wrong."

Strong words from Edwards but I have to agree with him.

Surely there is a time when the FFA can compromise, especially when players' health is at risk.


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