PERTH Glory coach Alistair Edwards has slammed the 'ridiculous' decision to make his side play in sweltering conditions in Saturday's 1-1 A-League draw with Adelaide United at nib Stadium.
Edwards and Perth owner Tony Sage unsuccessfully lobbied with FFA officials during the week to have the match, featuring the A-League debut of William Gallas, played at 6:45pm.
But the match went ahead as scheduled at 2:30pm as the temperature hovered around 32 degrees Celsius after reaching a high of 37 shortly before kick-off.
Glory also had the support of Adelaide United and the Professional Footballers' Association in their bid to have the start time moved to 'semi-comfortable' conditions.
Edwards was forced to substitute captain Jacob Burns in the second half because the 35-year-old veteran was not coping with the conditions.
"I see being asked to play in those conditions as unacceptable," Edwards said. "I think it's just ridiculous. It ruins the spectacle.
"To be asked to play in 35-degree heat or whatever it was is just dangerous. I think it's wrong.
"We've been told it will never happen again with the fixturing and all that rhetoric.
"For Perth and our weather conditions – and we knew it was going to be these conditions – to be asked to play at these times of the day just shows a lack of respect for what we're trying to do."
Edwards said the 36-year-old Gallas, who came on as a substitute in the 62nd minute, would have started if not for the hot conditions.
Glory heavily promoted the game in local media during the week, but only 8574 people turned out to see the club's new marquee signing.
"He was set to start, but there's no way we can play a player like that who has just hopped off the plane," Edwards said.
"I can't say to William: 'Welcome to Australia. It's 35 degrees and good luck. I hope you don't get injured'. It's not fair on him – or any of the players.
"We're trying to grow the game in this country by bring all these world-class players in, but the timing of the game means we couldn't do that.
"I feel sorry for our owner Tony Sage for what he's putting into the club, I feel sorry for our fans who had an opportunity to come to see a world-class player and I feel sorry for William because he really wanted to play. He really wanted to play, but I said no. I can't subject him to that sort of duress."
Edwards was able to convince the match officials to let his substitutes sit in the shade instead of out in the sun on plastic chairs, but not without a fight.
The Glory coach said he was pleased to have taken a point from the game, which extends Perth's unbeaten run to five matches after their opening-round 3-1 loss to Adelaide.
"It's hard to focus on the positives when you're raging inside, but I must say the courage of both teams is incredible and I hope we don't ever have to put our elite athletes through that sort of duress ever again," Edwards said.
"If players can't run because they're just knackered, how do you judge people? If you want to try and play the way we usually play, you just can't do it."
Glory host Central Coast Mariners at nib Stadium next Saturday in a match that will kick-off at 6:30pm local time.comments