Non-league club slammed after women's team forced to play in park because of bouncy castle
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Non-league club Colney Heath have been criticised by many after their women's team were forced to play on a local park because of a bouncy castle.
Colney Heath Ladies were scheduled to play Bowers & Pitsea Ladies FC in the Eastern Region Women’s Football League but on their arrival, a bouncy castle had been erected as part of King Charles' coronation celebrations.
"We are genuinely upset to have to inform you that Colney HeathFC decided that a bouncy castle takes precedence over a Women’s Football Match at tier 5," they tweeted shortly after.
"We were informed that we had to play on a park pitch today. We apologise to our opponents."
The disappointing scenes on Sunday sparked a huge reaction on social media. Arsenal legend Ian Wright tweeted: "What’s happening here Colney Heath FC? Absolutely ridiculous. An embarrassment."
Casey Stoney, who made 130 appearances for England during her career, added: "And yet we think the game has moved forward. So many positive strides at the highest level but yet these attitudes still exist in the game. DO BETTER Colney Heath FC."
Colney Heath Ladies player Terri Harvey also commented on the situation, saying: "Genuinely can’t believe the way we were treated at our own club today. Really speaks volume about how far we’ve still got to come."
Another fan wrote: "This is just awful. While we can all see the top levels are moving forward, it’s disgraceful that this type of thing still happens."
Our unfortunate situation at @LutonTown earlier in the season, we really thought that in 2023, women’s football would be treated with the respect that it deserves, especially by our own club.— Colney Heath Ladies (@ColneyHLadies) May 7, 2023
Obviously, this isn’t the case.
Can’t believe we are having to even write this. pic.twitter.com/cfUpTmGRh7
Colney Heath have since responded with a statement that suggests the team were informed about the bouncy castle prior to kick-off.
"Yesterday the club hosted a community event celebrating the Coronation of King Charles. It has been months in the planning and was attended by many young families in the club's picnic area.
"Our Ladies team had been fully informed that they would be playing on our second pitch at the Recreation Ground, which satisfies the requirements of the Eastern Region Women's League and the referee of the day.
"The match was moved for health and safety reasons and the presence of the inflatable castle was incidental."
Colney Heath Ladies responded, saying: "Whilst we appreciate you wanting to connect with the community, which we support, it didn’t have to be to the detriment of the women’s game.
"It wasn’t ever confirmed to us the main pitch couldn’t be used. We’ll strive to continue to promote equality & respect in the future."