The operator of the KCOM Stadium, home of English Championship football club Hull City, has moved to deny suggestions that there were no penalty spots on the pitch during Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Sunderland.
Following the game, fans and members of the local media pointed out that the game appeared to go ahead without the penalty spots having been marked on the pitch.
The spots were not clearly visible during television replays of the match, but the Superstadium Management Company (SMC), which operates the venue, insists that they were there.
“The way that the penalty spots are now marked involves a hollow circle rather than the traditional large white spot,” the SMC’s statement read. “This is done to limit the amount of paint on the grass which ultimately damages the surface. It also removes the need to ‘green’ the white marks when the groundsmen change the markings between rugby and football, this process is also damaging for the surface. The pictures below show that this way of marking the pitch is less visible from the stands but when closer to the spot it is clearly present and visible.”
The KCOM Stadium also serves as the home of rugby league team Hull FC, which played at the ground on Thursday evening.
Following Saturday’s match, Hull City’s development squad used the pitch for a game against Coventry City, and the SMC said that the officials for this fixture also ruled that it was playable.
The statement continued: “We would also like to point out that two full sets of match officials, one for the EFL fixture and one for the development match, approved the pitch as playable after a full inspection. If there hadn’t been the correct markings this would have been raised by the officials.
“We are disappointed that some people have chosen to question the work standards of our staff without being properly informed on the situation. Our current groundsmen have also received verbal abuse on a match day due to the ongoing employment tribunal case with two former employees, this is both unnecessary and unacceptable.”
Earlier this year, two former KCOM Stadium groundsmen launched a crowdfunding campaign to take the SMC to an employment tribunal having been sacked for gross misconduct. Mark Harrison and Darrell Cook claimed that they were sacked for “what we believe to be quite ridiculous and extremely hurtful allegations.”