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Flash fined significant amount; Riley suspended

Frontier Field's dimensions last Saturday were not deemed acceptable.  Although the league approved an exception the Flash were fined for lack of organizational oversight.

Frontier Field’s dimensions last Saturday were not deemed acceptable. Although the league approved an exception the Flash were fined for lack of organizational oversight.

Following a review of the circumstances that led to the Western New York Flash hosting last week’s match on a pitch that was 100 x 58, NWSL has fined the club “a significant amount.” Earlier on Friday the club put out a statement apologizing for “tarnishing its reputation and image.”

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Specifics of the review and fine were not immediately available.

The full statement from NWSL reads:

We have completed our review of last weekend’s match between the Western New York Flash and Seattle Reign FC and today have issued a significant fine to Western New York for a lack of organizational oversight in both preparing and then operating Frontier Field to the standards of a professional soccer match. In the future, we will not deviate from our standards or grant exceptions for changes to field sizes that are not in accordance with our standards. Moving forward, we must, and will, work together with all of our partners to safeguard the integrity of our game and make certain that it is always respected both on and off the field.

We would like to thank our NWSL owners, U.S. Soccer and all of our other stakeholders for their hard work, patience and guidance as we worked through this difficult situation. This situation has been a distraction that has taken away from the many positive storylines our clubs are having this season with significantly increased attendance and fan engagement. Most importantly, our great players continue to turn in spectacular team and individual performances and are the reasons we remain so excited about, and committed to, our league and our sport.

Last Saturday’s Flash-Reign match was moved from Rochester Rhinos Stadium to Frontier Field after Rhinos became double booked. Frontier Field has a long history of putting on high-level soccer matches but this time the action was condensed to the outfield and the pitch turned out to be 100 x 58. The goals were also reportedly off center meaning the posts did not directly line up with their counterparts at the opposite end.

In an exclusive interview with Four Four Two, NWSL commissioner Jeff Plush declined to address many of the details that led to the pitch looking like it did, electing to focus more on moving forward and not allowing any further exemptions to league standards.

We didn’t execute appropriately,” Plush told Four Four Two. “Good intentions did not materialize. We’re going to own that and it won’t happen again.”

Plush did say that the pitch there was no safety issues with the pitch. “Unequivocally it was safe. It was compliant. It was far from perfect.”

A source told The Equalizer late Friday that there could still be further fallout from the league’s review of the situation.

Read the full Four Four Two story here.
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In an unrelated announcement, Flash coach Paul Riley was suspended for this weekend’s return match in Seattle and fined an undisclosed amount for actions directed at game officials during the match. It will be Riley’s second suspension of the season. He was suspended and fined for similar reasons during the Pride’s loss in Orlando and was not on the sidelines for his club’s 5-2 win over Sky Blue FC the following weekend.

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