NORTHERN NSW Football chief David Eland said the synthetic pitches at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility (LMRFF) remain safe for use despite the need to replace “compromised” rubber infill at the end of this season.
YUCK: An example of the clumping on the bottom of boots used at the Speers Point synthetic pitches recently.
Users of the 12 five-a-side courts and the two full-size fields at Speers Point have complained about clumping of glue-like gunk on the bottom ofboots when worn on the surfaces. The Herald was told some have left their boots in freezers overnight before hitting them with a hammer to remove the gunk. The $11.3 million LMRFF opened in November 2014.
Stakeholders were notified on February 6 that NNSWF was working with the “manufacturer and installer of the synthetic surfaces to address the unsatisfactory condition of the pitches” and that the rubber clumps had been sent for analysis. The supplier told NNSWF this problem had never occurred with the same composition of rubber and sand at other venues.
Last week, NNSWF told users tests revealed “the composition of the rubber infill has been compromised” and it needed to be removed and replaced. To minimise disruptions to training and competitions, the fields will be closed from September 22 for at least two weeks while the work is done.
Eland told the Heraldthat the replacement infill from Europe was a different composition which suppliers said would not have the same problems.
He said the substantial work would be completed without cost to NNSWF and stakeholders given the pitches remained under warranty.
Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility
He said suppliers had stated and tests had confirmed that the clumping gunk was “not harmful to health”.Despite stating thatthe “pitches are currently not at the standard we all expect”, he said no bare spots were visible and the surface was safe to use until the replacement works.
He said the problems began in the new year, after a two-week breakover an extremely hot Christmas period. Although the cause of the infill failure was not confirmed, problems have increased during the pitches’use in hot periods. Users were told “management is banking on the occurrence of clumping reducing further as temperatures drop.”