From the Daily News:
The New York City Soccer Officials Association is boycotting four of nine fields at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park because of gaping tears in artificial turf, holes full of standing water and dangerous divots in the ground.
"We refuse to referee games on those fields," said Alan Wharton, president of the association. "It's a liability issue for us."
The group officiates Public School Athletic League games, as well as private school, college and club games. Without the referees, games cannot be scheduled on fields 1, 4, 5 or 6, leaving just four open for the northern Queens teams that compete at the park. The ninth field is a nonregulation- size children's field.
"They are not playable," said Bob Sprance, varsity girls coach at Forest Hills High School. "They must be repaired before somebody gets seriously hurt."
Fields 1 and 5 are artificial turf, and each has several tears and ripped seams. The other two are dirt fields and are littered with bottle caps, glass and rocks.
"I go out with giant cones to mark the spots that the girls need to be aware of," said Keith Horan, varsity coach at the High School for Arts and Business in Corona. "It's plain dangerous."
His school is one of several that practice and play games there because it doesn't have its own field. The park fields are often filled from dawn to dusk.
The Parks Department has not received a complaint from the NYCSOA, said Queens Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski. She said it could cost up to $500,000 to replace a synthetic field, depending on its size.
"Even though you try to regulate play through permits, there's such a demand for soccer in that area," she said, adding that there are 42 leagues with permits to play in the park - all of which agree to not wear metal spikes.