Brechin City, UEFA And A Hedge

In many respects, the idiosyncracies of British football grounds add flavour to the match day experience of the football supporter. Slowly but surely, however, the more individual characteristics of our clubs are being eaten away by what is commonly referred to as “progress”. In Scotland, a row has erupted this week over Brechin City’s Glebe Park and the club’s failure to comply with UEFA regulations regarding the width of their pitch. Brechin City seem unlikely to ever break into the upper echelons of Scottish football. They currently inhabit the Scottish Second Division, with a record attendance of just over 8,000 for a Scottish Cup match against Aberdeen in 1973 and an average home crowd of just over 500. However, the SFA has signed up to UEFA’s licencing project to standardise facilities within its member leagues, and this means that Brechin’s pitch falls short of UEFA’s requirements on size. UEFA rules state that a pitch must be a minimum of seventy yards wide, and Brechin’s weighs in at a mere sixty-seven yards. At most clubs, this wouldn’t be too much of a problem. It could simply be extended by a metre and a half on each side and everyone would be happy. Unfortunately for Brechin, however, this isn’t an option. The ground is already hemmed in on one side by their main stand and on the other by a hedge...

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