Bayswater short-changed by venue switch block

Bayswater City criticised the FFA for declining their move to play Wednesday’s FFA Cup fixture against Melbourne Victory in Victoria but the game’s governing body says they never received an official proposal.

The Western Australian club were forced to move Wednesday’s Round of 32 glamour fixture away from their home ground Frank Drago Reserve due to inadequate lighting.

Instead, the match will be played at the Western Australia Athletics Stadium.

However, Bayswater coach Chris Coyne told FourFourTwo the club had wanted the game moved to Melbourne, as often occurs in England’s FA Cup where clubs strike a deal on splitting gate takings, but were denied by the FFA.

“The FFA said straight away ‘no’ because it sets a precedent and isn’t in the benefit of the game, but I think it is,” Coyne said.

Coyne claimed Bayswater and Victory had agreed to the venue switch, and had tabled a formal proposal to the FFA, with Perth Glory owner Tony Sage working as mediator.

The ex-Socceroos defender was at Luton Town in 2002 when they struck a deal with non-league club Guiseley to host a first round FA Cup fixture, while the Hatters almost reached a similar agreement a few seasons later with Liverpool.

“Victory were good to go with it,” Coyne said. “It was two consenting clubs. Sagey (Tony Sage) understood exactly where we were coming from.

“I think the FFA should’ve shown more foresight. It’s not just this one game, it’s about the next 10-15 years.

“We could’ve got $100,000, for example, off Melbourne game receipts and all the rest, why not let us do that?

“The money could’ve been spent in the right ways, such as floodlights so we don’t have this issue next year, junior infrastructure, facilities or coaching.”

The FFA refuted Coyne’s claims, with a spokesperson stating they “did not receive an official proposal from the clubs to switch the game”.

However, the FFA did reveal they were open to the prospect of swapping venues between opposition clubs.

“If it was deemed that Bayswater City did not have a suitable venue to hold the match and could not nominate a suitable local alternate venue, FFA would switch hosting rights to the away team,” the spokesperson added.

“In this case Western Australia Athletics Stadium was nominated and approved as a suitable alternate venue.

“As there was no official request to relinquish hosting rights to the match, there was no request to knock back.”

Coyne admitted not being able to play the fixture at Frank Drago Reserve in itself left a “bitter taste in the mouth”.

Bayswater are not alone in missing out on a true home FFA Cup fixture, with fellow WA outfit Stirling Lions also forced to move their clash with Brisbane Roar to the Athletics Stadium.

“I’m a bit disgruntled that the two WA clubs who’ve got into the FFA Cup haven’t been capable of hosting the game,” Coyne said.

“It’s a massive problem in WA football, as it’s very AFL orientated and we’re left picking up the pieces.

“Our dressing room is as good as any in the A-League, it’s top notch and the playing surface is very good as well, but we don’t have the lights.”

Coyne moved to reiterate he felt the FFA Cup was a great initiative from the game’s governing body and was delighted to be a part of it in its inaugural year.

It could be a memorable week for Bayswater, who will clinch the NPL WA title with a win or draw away to Sorrento on Saturday.

“We’ve got two monster games this week and we’re all very excited about it,” Coyne said. “It’s a massive week for the club.”