Council searching for solutions to Halifax Panthers pitch problems

CALDERDALE Council say they are in discussions with joint tenants Halifax Panthers and FC Halifax Town over how to improve the problem pitch at The Shay.

While the Panthers have played all seven home games as planned this year, the football club was hit by a string of call-offs due to waterlogging.

And they ended up moving three matches away from a stadium which the local authority want to opt out of running as they try to try to find savings of £18 million over three years.

Amid fears of the pitch at The Shay again being ruled unplayable, Town took their National League games against Barnet and Ebbsfleet United to Accrington Stanley’s Wham Stadium, while Chesterfield’s SMH Group Stadium staged the clash with Oldham Athletic.

Frustrated fans accused the council of failing to maintain the pitch to the necessary standard and asked why other grounds, such as nearby Huddersfield, can successfully stage both sports.

Calderdale Council’s director of public services Ian Day said in a statement: “We understand how important the condition of The Shay pitch is to enable the sports that mean so much to fans, to Halifax and to Calderdale’s culture.

“We remain committed to keeping the pitch playable, and continue to do everything we can to treat and prepare it between football and rugby games.

“Unfortunately, we were up against one of the wettest months on record in March, after one of the rainiest winters, which has caused ongoing problems.

“As well as planning our usual rigorous improvement works to the pitch over the summer break in the fixture calendar, our discussions with the football and rugby clubs are ongoing as we continue to jointly look into maintenance options and longer-term plans for the pitch.”

The Shay has been home to the Rugby League club since they sold their own ground Thrum Hall in 1998.

Football has been played there since 1921, and it was redeveloped from the 1990s onwards.

First published in League Express newspaper, Issue 3,430 (May 13, 2024)

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