Citizen head surprised as soggy field halts match with Caroliners

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 20 March, 2011, 12:00am

Citizen boss Pui Kwan-kay expressed surprise when he found out his side's crucial FA Cup match against South China yesterday had been called off because of a waterlogged pitch.

The Observatory yesterday recorded less than 20 millimetres of rainfall in the Yuen Long area during the 24 hours before the match, but even that amount was enough to apparently overwhelm the pitch drainage system.

The Senior Shield champions were scheduled to take on the Caroliners in the FA Cup quarter-finals at Yuen Long Stadium in the afternoon and were informed of the Football Association decision at noon.

'It was pretty strange, as we only find very light rain on the Island side,' Pui said. 'Maybe the conditions in Yuen Long are very bad and we don't know. But common sense says if we cannot play matches under today's conditions, we can assume a lot of matches will be cancelled when the rainy season begins in earnest.

'Anyway, we have to respect the decision of the referee, but if the pitch conditions are really that bad, the government should consider improving the facility, as we are set to kick off a new professional premier league in September 2012.

'Fans will certainly be disappointed if the pitches are still like that for a so-called premier league.'

Yesterday's fixture comprised two FA Cup quarter-finals at the Yuen Long ground. Tai Chung and TSW Pegasus were supposed to kick off their tie at 2pm, followed by the Citizen-South China match at 4.30pm.

A Football Association spokesman said team officials involved in the first match and the referee had been invited to inspect the ground at 11.30am and all agreed the pitch conditions were not suitable for competition. 'Some parts of the pitch were so badly waterlogged the ball would not bounce,' the spokesman said.

Fans who bought advance tickets can hold them for the rematch or get a refund at Football Association headquarters in Ho Man Tin. The Association will announce a new date for the two matches as soon as possible, the spokesman said.

The two other FA Cup quarter-finals will kick off at Tsing Yi Sports Ground today with Sun Hei taking on Fourway Rangers, followed by the match between Wo Foo Tai Po and Tuen Mun.

Relegation-threatened Sun Hei, who defeated fellow strugglers Tai Chung 4-0 in their last match, are looking for another victory to boost players' confidence, although coach Ricardo Rambo admitted their prime target would be league survival.


The Observatory recorded less than this many millimetres of rainfall in the Yuen Long area in 24 hours: 20