Coaches voice concerns over poor light at Friendship Trophy Finals
Concerns have been raised regarding the decision by the Bermuda Football Association to schedule all three of Sunday’s Friendship Trophy matches at venues which did not possess approved floodlights after two matches ended in penalty shoot-outs under low-level luminescence.
Particularly affected was the match at Bernard Park between North Village and Boulevard, the second of a double-header at the ground, which was delayed more than 25 minutes from its slated off time of 2.30pm, due to the preceding Shield match between Ireland Rangers and Southampton Rangers also requiring extra-time and penalties to decide a winner.
The second match likewise went the full distance before Village emerged victorious, finally ending at around 5.30pm with the host club forced to engage lights that while deemed adequate for training purposes, lacked the quality befitting an important cup quarter-final.
While not begrudging the day’s opponents their victory, Blazers assistant coach Troy Smith said that the situation was an example of poor planning, which was something he said his club had come to expect, with the irony being that Boulevard’s home ground Goose Gosling Field, which is situated less than a mile from Bernard Park, has an approved array of floodlights.
“The BFA and everybody, they treat Boulevard hard,” said Smith following the hard-fought match. “Like when we want to get a field, they don’t give us a field and this game here today.
“They know that it’s a game that might go to overtime and it is poor how they didn’t better consider the light.”
With daylight diminishing, the match ended at 3-3 in normal time and referee Tyshun Simons recognised the looming dilemma and seemed to shorten rest time for the players, which Smith also disagreed with.
“They didn’t give us any time for rest in between,” he added. “In the World Cup you see how they give rest for players to regroup and prepare to go again. They give them five minutes, here they gave us two.”
The quarter-final at St David’s between Hamilton Parish and Somerset Trojans also required penalties to decide the outcome, but finished barely moments before artificial lighting would have been necessary.
Not helpful to the day’s situation was the fact that matches were scheduled to be played at the western end of the Island, where the sunsets and light last that bit longer, with two of the three taking place at easternmost venues.
Former Hamilton Parish president Alan Smith, who was at his club’s game, said that the conditions were not optimal but decent enough.
“I didn’t think it was the best, but it was pretty visible,” said Smith, who watched in dismay as his beloved Hot Peppers get eliminated. “I was wondering why they didn’t start at 2pm, rather than 2.30pm.
“If they are going to have games that can go into extra-time and penalties, they should either start the games earlier or have them at a field that has lights, that’s probably the best thing.
“That’s what the guys were talking about yesterday, that St David’s doesn’t have lights outside of a couple for training.”
The BFA were contacted for a response with questions forwarded to the Competition and Referee Committees but The Royal Gazette has yet to receive a reply..