Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has questioned the integrity of the FFA Cup following the “staggering” decision to play Tuesday’s FFA Cup Round of 32 clash with Perth on a suburban pitch at Dorrien Gardens not Glory’s home ground nib Stadium.
Muscat asked whether the competition could be taken seriously and said he deliberately left key players in Melbourne, rather than risk them on the surface.
Victory won the encounter 1-0 over Glory but the standard of the surface, home to NPL WA club Perth SC, affected play on numerous occasions.
Glory’s home ground nib Stadium is known as one of the best surfaces in the A-League but is far more expensive to use than Dorrien Gardens, which attracted 1,754 fans for the midweek contest.
“Call me old fashioned and everyone will say ‘we’re taking it out to the community’, I get all that, but if you draw a community team you play at a community park,” Muscat said.
“You don’t draw a professional team and take it to a community park. It’s staggering.
“We get these little things right and the respect for the competition will go through the roof.”
He added: “I’m trying to be respectful. The ground here has tried their hardest but when you’ve got two A-League teams playing each other it’s not conducive to professional sport.
“If you draw an NPL I can understand it, you play at their ground. When you draw an A-League team and take it to someone else’s ground it doesn’t make any sense to me.
“Until it happens where A-League teams are playing A-League teams at proper stadiums, how can you take the competition seriously?”
Muscat revealed the surface played a part in why he hadn’t brought new signings Georg Niedermeier and Nick Ansell across to Perth, while he only used Socceroo James Troisi briefly off the bench.
“We left a few players back home because I saw the conditions we’d be playing in so you rest players,” Muscat said.
“I’m being respectful, they’ve done a great job here, but for the competition, you’ve got professional teams playing at a community park, it’s a world first.”
Glory coach Tony Popovic refused to be drawn into the discussion.
“The pitch is what it is. Can it be better? Of course it can be better," he said.
"We know it was probably a lot worse two or three weeks ago. They’ve done their best to get it up to a standard that was acceptable.
"Is it nib, no? In the end both teams dealt with it."