Council apology after problem-hit Ballymena Showgrounds pitch forces cancellation of showpiece final

FacebookTwitterEmailWhatsAppCOUNCIL chiefs have apologised to fans after a showpiece football match became the latest casualty of the problematic quarter-million-pound pitch at Ballymena Showgrounds. Linfield were due to play Crusaders on Tuesday night at the Showgrounds in the final of the County Antrim Shield but it was called off following a pitch inspection this afternoon. A […]

Showgrounds pitch
The Showgrounds pitch when it was officially opened earlier in the season.

COUNCIL chiefs have apologised to fans after a showpiece football match became the latest casualty of the problematic quarter-million-pound pitch at Ballymena Showgrounds.

Linfield were due to play Crusaders on Tuesday night at the Showgrounds in the final of the County Antrim Shield but it was called off following a pitch inspection this afternoon.

A Mid and East Antrim Borough Council spokesperson said: “We are extremely disappointed and hugely frustrated by the condition of the playing surface at Ballymena Showgrounds.

“We have launched a full investigation into the current issues in order to find a long-term solution.

“We want the pitch at the Showgrounds to be among the very best in Northern Ireland and we are committed to ensuring we will deliver this for the people of Mid and East Antrim, and the football fraternity.

“The current situation is totally unacceptable, and we apologise unreservedly for the disruption caused.”

There have been several postponements at the ground in recent months,

The pitch was relaid last summer at the estimated cost of £250k to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

Concerns had been raised in recent weeks about the Showgrounds being picked as the final venue because of the pitch situation.

In a statement, Ballymena United said they shared the disappointment regarding the latest postponement.

“We welcome Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s statement and apology, and we are encouraged of their public commitment to ensure that the surface will be among the very best in Northern Ireland.

“The club are hopeful that the outcome of the investigation into the current issues will see an improved playing surface through to the end of the season,” the United statement said.

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