WORTHING Football Club will play their first scheduled home game of the new season at Bognor Regis, after a delay in receiving a FIFA test certificate for their new 3G pitch at Woodside Road.
Rebels began installing the new artificial surface at the end of last season and have played several pre-season friendly games at home to prepare for the upcoming Ryman League South Division campaign, which begins at Corinthian Casuals on Saturday.
A limited number of companies undertake the work to award test certificates for 3G pitches and Rebels will not have a certificate in time for Tuesday, when Walton & Hersham were due to be their first competitive opponents on the surface. The game will now be played at Bognor Regis on Wednesday, with a 7.45pm kick-off.
A company is set to visit Woodside Road on Tuesday and, after the paperwork is submitted, Rebels expect to host their first game on the new surface a week on Saturday, when Faversham are the visitors.
Rebels club director Calvin Buckland said: “This is obviously very disappointing for all concerned, especially as it was a question asked early on in the construction of the pitch.
“We were poorly advised regarding timescales and it’s been one of a number of issues since the new board took over. We all remain committed to learn from things like this.
“It’s the fans we feel most for. After a rocky year, the feel-good factor seemed to be returning but, quite rightly, supporters will be thinking ‘here we go again’.
“I, along with the rest of the board, can assure the fans that it is a genuine case of mis-communication and lessons will be learned. We were only made aware there was an issue last week and have been doing all possible to resolve it.
“Unfortunately, only three companies nationwide can undertake the testing. With a large number of clubs all over the country changing to 3G, they are struggling to keep up.
“We asked Walton & Hersham to reverse the fixture but they were unable to accomodate us.
“On a personal note and I know I speak for Ian Hart and Harry Shiel as well, we really feel for George Dowell.
“He has put everything into the club in the last four months and was really looking forward to the first league game at Woodside Road.”
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!