Match abandoned because the pitch was never playable

By Danny Caro, January 20, 2011
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What's the most bizarre reason you've heard for a football match being abandoned? Rain, a thunderstorm, fighting. Not this time. Just when I thought that I'd heard it all, along comes another, an absolute classic.

The players from Pinner JFC and Los Blancos were tucking into their half-time oranges at the JC MSFL Division Four contest when Les Conway, the Pinner chairman, informed both teams and the referee that the match could not continue. Why, I hear you ask? Because the pitch was unplayable, apparently.

You should've seen the look on Joel Minsky's face. The Los Blancos manager was fuming, and rightly so, and not just because his team were leading 2-0 after referee Jon Smith gave the go-ahead.

Conway told me that his club had tried to assist after Los Blancos, who were the home team, had seen their pitch at South Oxhey called off. He went on to say that "as the pitch at the Bannister Sports Centre are council-run, it was not the referee's call". It appears that the match should never have started in the first place.

Minsky said: "The pitch wasn't unplayable, but the Pinner chairman felt he had the authority at half time to abandon the game as it would affect the quality of the pitches for future weeks, regardless of the ref saying it was playable."

With the league behind schedule, a common sense approach is needed by all parties to ensure that games get played. Conway's dilemma is that he runs a club with several teams and must look at the bigger picture in terms of the preserving the state of his pitches, as he believes that it would be unfair to players in future weeks.

My view is that Sunday morning football is about putting up with whatever is thrown at you, including having to change in the car, having to tape the net to the crossbar, getting covered in mud from head to toe and many other things that make the game so great. I know that rules are rules but if the referee and 22 players are happy to continue, and the conditions have not deteriorated significantly, then they should not be forced to stop by red tape.

The investigation continues …

● I caught up with Frank Bruno, the former World Heavyweight boxing champion at the launch of a new gym in Radlett. Big Frank told me that he's a big fan of Dmitriy Salita.

"I think he was rushed into the Amir Khan fight," said Frank about the infamous WBA Light Welterweight bout that lasted just 76-seconds in December 2009. "He wasn't ready."

Frank believes that all is not lost for the 28-year-old from Brooklyn. "He looks a very good prospect. I really liked the look of him but he needs a bit more seasoning and I can see him going places under trainer Emanuel Steward."

● There's another action-packed weekend in store for football fans. The Dennis Shore Memorial Trophy will be up for grabs at the Maccabi Junior Football League Under 14 indoor five-a-sides during the day.

Meir Panim's Football Frenzy event at Spurs is one not to miss. I'll be hosting a star-studded line-up including Avram Grant, David Pleat, Simon Corney, Dean Furman and Barry Silkman in a panel discussion entitled, Football - Just the Job For a Nice Jewish Boy.

    Last updated: 2:25pm, January 20 2011