Fans left Wander-ing about A-league match
FOLLOWERS of the round ball game are rueing the cancellation of a possible Coffs Harbour A-league game.
The planned August 7 pre-season friendly was to be a contest between the Western Sydney Wanderers and another A-league team, possibly Melbourne Victory.
First announced by Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight in a mayoral minute on June 11, the August 7 game was cancelled late on Monday, with North Coast Football blaming a scheduling clash.
The Wanderers are due to hold a pre-season training camp at Novotel Pacific Bay Resort during the first week of August and it was hoped a second A-league team could be enticed to Coffs Harbour for a friendly match on August 7.
But North Coast Football marketing manager Terry Allen said the Westfield FFA Cup 2015 Round of 32 draw, released on July 3, scheduled all A-league teams to play in the FFA Cup within a few days of the proposed Coffs Harbour fixture.
"As a result, it became impractical to proceed with the pre-season match, leading to its cancellation," Terry said.
"North Coast Football, its major stakeholders and supporters remain committed to bringing elite football to the zone and will continue to work towards that end, particularly the goal of hosting a full competition A-league match in the future.
Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight moved for the council to devote $50,000 of the funds previously allocated to attract an A-league match to NCF and Pacific Bay Resort for the pre-season fixture after councillors Mark Sultana and Bob Palmer lobbied for the council to support the match financially.
On June 25, Cr Sultana and Cr Palmer moved a rescission motion to vary the terms of the agreement with NCF and remove the reference to the resort.
The mayor said this week she had stepped back from the process and left it up to the council's sports unit, North Coast Football and Pacific Bay.
"The whole process did not go well," she said.
"I think they didn't get their ducks in a line.
"The rescission motion was not necessary anyway.
"Perhaps it would have been better handled through the normal channels, rather than coming through a councillor."
Cr Palmer said he was disappointed by the cancellation but insisted they had tried the usual route.
"We had gone through the normal channels and hit a little bit of a roadblock," Cr Palmer said.
"I didn't know about the draw and I presumed North Coast Football didn't either.
"I presume the $50,000 will now be held in reserve until something else is forthcoming.
"The staff are still working with North Coast Football.
"I know there was originally talk of the Wanderers doing a training camp of our elite junior footballers."
Cr Palmer said Novotel Pacific Bay Resort's Jodie Evans had been a driving force behind the push for an A-league match, which was why the resort had been named in the original motion.
A sophisticated team training camp is located at the resort.
"It is a drawcard for teams coming to Coffs Harbour," Cr Palmer said
"The NSW Blues, the Canberra Raiders, the Gold Coast Titans... there has been a constant flow of top-flight teams (to the training camp)."