Saturday, August 18, 2012
City seems to think USTA owns Flushing Meadows
From the Daily News:
The city banned thousands of amateur soccer players from using Flushing Meadows-Corona Park during the U.S. Open — and then back-pedalled following a Daily News inquiry.
Soccer leagues, primarily made up of immigrants, have used the fields for decades but were informed earlier this year that they would not be allowed to use the park from Aug. 25 to Sept. 10.
But Parks Department officials told The News on Thursday that the teams will be allowed to play during the Open on days the Mets don’t have games. The leagues will still lose two weekends.
“The Mets and the U.S. Open are dictating the Spanish soccer players can’t come in the park,” said Alfonso Vargas, president of the Alianza de Ligas Latinas de Futbol, a consortium of 14 leagues that play in the park. “I don’t see why we can’t play our sport while they play theirs.”
“Soccer is a way of life for us,” said Vargas, who added the leagues pay for cleaning and security crews to maintain the fields.
This is the first time in recent memory the fields were off-limits for more than a weekend during the Open, league officials said.