FURIOUS Kenny Shiels has hit out at Derry’s Council, claiming the arrival of ‘Storm Emma’ has handed the local authority a ‘get-out clause’ regarding Brandywell Stadium.
The FAI announced on Wednesday the postponement of ALL weekend League of Ireland fixtures, including Derry City’s long awaited homecoming against Dundalk.
However, City boss Shiels believes the fixture would never have kicked-off and claimed the severe weather warning was a blessing in disguise for stadium owners, Derry and Strabane District Council.
Shiels had arranged a training match at the Lone Moor Road venue yesterday afternoon but for the second time this week the session was cancelled by the council at the eleventh hour.
The club was also refused access to the stadium for a training session on Monday evening due to a lack of ‘safety documentation’ but this latest rebuff has left the City boss fuming.
“I had arranged an 11 v 11 match at Brandywell and was told 15 minutes ago that we can’t go on it,” said Shiels as he arrived at the stadium yesterday.
They’re using the safety regulations as an excuse. They said the snow on the pitch is the reason. If you start to brush it off it will segregate the black pellets and you can’t brush it off.Kenny Shiels
“We had everything arranged. That’s every schedule I’ve arranged in the last four weeks I’ve had to change and here we are again on what would’ve been a day before the match.
“The match was never going to be played here. Never! The bad weather had given them (the council) a get-out.
“They are using the safety regulations as an excuse. They said the snow on the pitch was the reason. If you start to brush it off, it will segregate the black pellets and you can’t brush it off!”
A spokesperson forDerry & Strabane District Council refuted Shiels’ suggestions that the match would never have been played, adding the pitch will be made available for training when the weather permits it.
“The stadium and pitch were complete and ready to have hosted the game on Friday night.
“The decision to postpone the match was made by the FAI and is rescheduled to take place on March 19th.
“Training on the pitch will be accommodated as soon as the weather permits and council staff will continue to work closely with Derry City FC to ensure the first home match on March 12th is a great sporting experience for everyone involved.”