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‘Toothpicks’ claim sparks goal post supplier dispute
Claims by goal post supplier Abel Sports that a new sportfield's AFL goal posts "resembled toothpicks" have angered an industry competitor.
In an update on their website, Abel Sports stated "Abel Sports recently had a request from the AFL to replace the new goal posts installed by a competitive contractor at the first new AFL synthetic turf facility in Point Cook, Victoria.
"The AFL request was to install quality goal posts to replace the new ones supplied by one of our competitors.
"The contractor had installed 12 metre high, 80mm diameter imported Rugby poles that resembled toothpicks on this large oval."
Abel Sports quoted AFL Facilities & Projects Manager Ken Gannon as stating "they spend millions of dollars developing these new grounds, then try and save money on the goal posts."
Abel Sports continued "as part of the replacement installation, Abel Sports commissioned our Engineer to design spigots and hinged base plates in order to retrofit the new poles to the existing footings installed for the incorrect smaller diameter poles.
"The newly installed Abel goals are correctly sized at 12 metres high and 125mm diameter - similar proportions as the Abel installed MCG goals."
Abel Sports' retrofitting of the original footings have prompted comment from goalpost supplier PILA Group.
PILA Group Operations Director Sian Wooldridge wrote to Australasian Leisure Management stating that Abel Sports' comments were "alarming" and suggesting that the retrofitted goal posts might be dangerous.
Woolridge wrote "we recently read how another goal post supplier had installed larger AFL goal posts to replace smaller goal posts.
"The company said they had an engineer design new bases to fit to the existing concrete footings in the field. The size of the posts and in particular the wind area was increased by over 55% but the article fails to state that the footing size was also increased and the entire structure re-engineered to take the extra load of the larger goal posts. This is alarming.
"It is always concerning when articles like this are casually published, as the readers (may) think 'I'll do that too' without understanding the risks associated with having under-engineered footings supporting large structures such as goal posts.
"When there is a combination of people, especially children, playing sport on a public field and sports products are not engineer certified, there is a huge risk to the liability of the product designer and manufacturer, the installer and indeed the land owner if something were to fail structurally. Not to mention the risk the players are taking each week when they crash into the goal posts during their normal play.
"PILA group is the proud Preferred Supplier of goal posts to many of Australia's elite sporting codes, including the AFL.
"We build all products to meet the requirements of the AFL and manufacture them in Australia to exceed Australian Standards.
"We are careful to ensure the entire product, from design, construction and installation is built to controlled specifications and we do not take risks by retrofitting posts to old footings just to save a few dollars for a client or just to sell our products. We understand budget is usually near the top of most clients' requirements but we ensure that product quality and safety are at the very top of this list and our clients appreciate this.
"They know that they will still be buying a very cost effective product that is also quality tested and guaranteed by the longest warranty in the Australian industry."
Article amended 12th March 2013.
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