Home Ground Issues

Strides FC and its counterparts sharing the Atteridgeville Extension 6 Ground as the home ground are increasingly experiencing a challenge in the use of this ground. 

The challenge starts with the contention of the ground by a football gambling ground that organises Top 4s and Top 8s gambling matches. This was always the situation in the past, but now the challenge has increased to proportions affecting the standings of the clubs in the league.

The league fixtures clubs according to grounds listed as their home ground. Now there are two types of grounds, that is, municipal grounds that the association controls, and community grounds that are controlled by the community. PLFA clubs that use these as home grounds will also be part of the community. For Strides, Extension 6 which is its home ground, is also a community controlled ground. Therefore the football gambling grouping also has a stake in the use of this ground. 

The problem is there that for community grounds the onus of securing the ground for a fixture is on the home team. The association could not be bothered about these arrangements and correctly so. Should a fixture not be able to play at the ground because it is being occupied by gambling teams, then the PLFA home team will forfeit the fixture to its visitors. 

The question is, for what? 

All the teams that use municipal grounds as their home grounds are not faced with this challenge. They do not have the risk of walkover due to others occupying the grounds. The only responsibility they have towards the grounds is corner flags, nothing else. 

So why do we as Strides go through this? Because we want to keep football within the community that we reside. Most of our players are from the informal settlements close by and so playing at Extension 6, if all is normal, would give our communities an advantage of seeing our boys play without making too much effort. Also, for our boys to play at this ground for home games has zero logistical costs.

But then we have to ask ourselves:

Is the game so ripe at this stage that our communities will be interested in watching?

Is this worth it to save logistical costs in exchange for accepting the risk of highly probable conflict and walkovers?

But the bigger question is whether there is a just case to fight for this ground and preserve it for the league in the spirit of refusing to be bullied?

Please make your input in the comments here below to assist the way forward.

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