Football players face ruined boots and injuries from faulty artificial turf at Ellenbrook Sports Hub

Rubber particles on players’ football boots. Picture: Ellenbrook United Football Club/supplied
Rubber particles on players’ football boots. Picture: Ellenbrook United Football Club/supplied

ELLENBROOK United Football Club players are experiencing injuries and ruined boots as a result of an issue with the artificial turf at Ellenbrook Sports Hub.

The City of Swan-owned hub, which opened in 2016, has the largest accredited synthetic playing fields in WA.

Over the past four weeks, hard rubber particles has been coming off from the turf and getting stuck onto boots.

Despite the issue, the turf was deemed safe to play on by the manufacturer.

City acting chief executive Mark Bishop said while the City did not know the cause at this stage, officers were working with the product manufacturer and other specialists to find a solution.

President Fonz Tenaglia said the club received constant complaints from players and opponents about the build-up of rubber.

“People are complaining their boots which cost anywhere from $160 and above are being ruined with intention of seeking club to compensate,” he said.

“The build-up of rubber under the boot is causing loss of grip with players slipping and sliding causing injury

“Players are also experiencing uneven build up causing ankle sprains and injury.”

Mr Tenaglia said the facility was fast-becoming a “laughing stock” which impacted the club and the City’s image.

“I can attest to the situation personally that the daily cleaning, chipping, scraping, peeling the hard build up on the boots is a painstaking task as it is after every training or game session,” he said.

“The club has been experimenting with cleaning agents but none from the City or manufacturer.

“One of the positives to having the artificial turf is no dirt and mud build up on your boots.

“It’s not practical and people are getting angry, it’s not the environment we want to be in and it is ruining people’s expensive footwear.”Mr Bishop said the City would continue to keep the club, community members and other users informed.

“This issue has only recently occurred at Ellenbrook Sports Hub, and the City has not installed the product anywhere else,” he said.

“The City is working with the manufacturer and product specialists and seeking advice on what we can do to reduce the impact in the short term.

“The long-term solution will be developed when the cause of the issue is confirmed.”

Mr Tenaglia said his members were not satisfied with paying premium ground use fees which costed $23,000 last year and projected to increase this year for a “substandard service”.

“By end of summer, we would have already spent over $7000 in pre-season usage and March will be $5000 alone,” he said.