Soccer refs dark on lights

By MARK ROBINSON

A SIMMERING dispute between Soccer Far North Coast and the FNC Referees' Association boiled over on Tuesday night with referees declaring the lighting at Thistles Park inadequate and calling off the scheduled Tursa Premier League clash between Thistles and Richmond Rovers.

Players and spectators at Thistles Park in Lismore were left stunned by the decision as the ground has been used for night games for years and just four days prior, the referees had officiated at night at a women's game there.

Uncertainty over responsibility for insurance liability issues has triggered the situation.

A few weeks ago, a men's Over-35 division night game at Byron Bay was abandoned by the referee after some players from the visiting side raised concerns about potential injury due to inadequate lighting.

Since then the issue has escalated and at the moment neither Thistles Park nor Byron Bay's home grounds will be allocated any night games.

A meeting last night between the referees' association and the board of Soccer FNC searched for solutions, including where and when Thistles and Rovers will play their postponed fixture.

The referees' association says it has consistently raised the issue of the need for improved lighting at some venues.

It says SFNC has been guided by advice from the Northern NSW Soccer Federation that it is up to the referees at each venue to declare a field eligible for play.

It seems a few clubs could be facing hefty bills to improve their lighting if the refs continue their hardline stance.



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