Launceston City and Northern Rangers speak out over cup rostering

On the run: Launceston City's Jarrod Linger and Northern Rangers' Alex Fulton chase the ball when the teams met at Prospect in April. Picture Paul Scambler.
On the run: Launceston City's Jarrod Linger and Northern Rangers' Alex Fulton chase the ball when the teams met at Prospect in April. Picture Paul Scambler.

Launceston’s two senior soccer clubs are furious with state administrators for ignoring their requests over Saturday’s big cup double-header.

Northern Rangers and Launceston City are both annoyed by a Football Federation Tasmania backflip over the times of their Lakoseljac Cup semi-finals.

When the draw was made, Rangers and Devonport favoured an early kick-off to their tie while City requested a late start to their match with South Hobart to accommodate players returning from the club’s other fixtures earlier in the day at Somerset.

Both host clubs said they received an email from FFT last Tuesday accommodating these requests. However, three days later when the fixtures were announced, the ties had been reversed with City kicking off at 1pm and Rangers at 4.30pm. 

City chairman Andrew Heap and Rangers president Rod Fulton were united in their annoyance.

“We spoke to FFT and explained the situation that we’d like the later game because all our other teams are up at Somerset and want to get back and watch because this is our biggest game of the season,” Heap said.

“Rangers wanted the earlier game and it seemed logical. On May 8 we were sent confirmation of this from their competitions manager but when the draw came out three days later it was the other way around.

City chairman Andrew Heap

City chairman Andrew Heap

“We’ve been mucked around and it’s pretty poor from an admin point of view. They are digging their heels in and it’s getting a bit messy.

“The backlash from our supporters on social media has been quite blunt. They want an explanation and I really can’t give them one.”

Fulton added: “After initial consultation with FFT it was agreed that Rangers would host the earlier timeslot and City would be later in the day.

They are digging their heels in and it’s getting a bit messy

Launceston City president Andrew Heap

“City were happier with the later time as it gave half their club a chance to get back into town to set up. Rangers were happy based on when key personnel would be available to assist, and later in the day did not suit us.”

Both clubs said they had been told the fixtures had been reversed following refereeing requests.

“We’ve been told that referees were the issue, yet with no other National Premier League or Women’s Super League matches this weekend, we find it difficult to believe that this could be a valid reasoning for standing firm on the fixture, when the clubs will suffer as a result,” Fulton said. “And ultimately it is still one early game and one late game.”

With six youth players in their Championship team, Rangers said they were going to have to forfeit their under-20 cup semi-final. 

FFT declined to comment when contacted on Wednesday but The Examiner understands the fixtures are being re-examined and may be rescheduled on Thursday.