Eastleigh Football Club were forced to today [8th July] postpone their opening pre-season fixture against League One outfit AFC Wimbledon after officials from the visiting side deemed the pitch un-playable.
Work has been invested in the Silverlake Stadium playing surface during the off-season, with the club satisfied the pitch is in strong enough condition to host National League and FA Cup fixtures.
The club said it respected Wimbledon’s wishes in the interests of player safety, and details for the re-arranged fixture would be released in due course.
It also expects the pitch to be suitable for next weekend’s high-profile fixture against local rivals and recently crowned League Two champions, Portsmouth.
“Eastleigh Football Club can confirm that today’s pre-season game against AFC Wimbledon has been postponed.
As it has been widely reported, the club took the decision to re-lay the pitch recently. We were advised there would be no issues in completing the work necessary and within in the time frame needed. The work has been completed to the standard required.
The company contracted to do the work complete many of these projects each year to an extremely high level and their feeling is that our pitch has been completed in line with this standard to enable our game with AFC Wimbledon to proceed whilst giving us a much improved playing surface for the remainder of the season.
Ahead of the game today, AFC Wimbledon representatives looked at the pitch this morning and took the view they were not happy to play on the pitch taking the view that it is unsafe. We fully respect their decision and understand that player safety is paramount however we are confident that our pitch is playable and would have been passed fit had this been a National League or FA Cup fixture.
We are pleased to confirm that we have had the pitch inspected in light of today’s events and tomorrow’s fixture will proceed despite the obvious disappointment of today.
We would like to apologise to all the fans who were planning on attending the game but had we felt the pitch was going to be unplayable at any stage we would have communicated this earlier.
The first team players will report to training today which will take place on the pitch.
The club will announce further details in the coming days regarding ticket arrangements. Please keep an eye on our social media outlets for further information.”