Anger as axed Champions of Tennis shelter still up

The roof structure remains on the Raeburn Place pitch. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

The roof structure remains on the Raeburn Place pitch. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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A “FUTURISTIC” roof erected to shelter a doomed tennis tournament is still standing three weeks after the promoters went bust.

The Brodies Champions of Tennis tournament – due to feature legends including John McEnroe and Tim Henman – was cancelled at the 11th hour after organisers failed to properly set up the roof.

Hosted at Edinburgh Accies’ home ground in Stockbridge, rugby bosses today said the heavy machinery used to install the roof had damaged the pitch leaving it “unfit for play”.

Accies said they had struck a deal with tennis organiser Serve & Volley, which vowed to restore the Raeburn Place pitch after the tournament was 
finished.

But after the event was unexpectedly called off, Serve & Volley entered voluntary liquidation and the massive metal framework for the competition has not been removed.

Accies chiefs are in talks with liquidators French Duncan and said they hoped the wrangle would be resolved “as quickly as possible”.

Last year’s Champions of Tennis event made the headlines after a fault in the design of the roof curtailed play over the weekend as rain hit the court.

Serve & Volley had commissioned a new roof to give better protection for this year but announced it had cancelled the event on June 17, insisting problems with the structure could not be overcome.

After spectators paying up to £100 for tickets were left fuming by rain delays last year, the firm said it had revised the roof design to offer better weather protection. But its specialists were unable to put up the “unique and complex design”.

An Accies spokeswoman said: “The ground at Raeburn Place was damaged during the installation of the ‘roof’ structure due to the use of heavy vehicles and machinery. As part of our agreement with Serve & Volley the ground would have been restored following the tennis, had the event taken place. The last-minute cancellation of the event could not have been 
foreseen.

“The club is still in discussion with the liquidators regarding the removal of the ‘roof’ and the restoration of the ground to playing condition. We are hoping the situation will be resolved as quickly as possible. In the meantime, our pre-season training continues to go well.”

Councillor Gavin Barrie, who represents the Inverleith ward, said: “It’s a private pitch which belongs to the Accies and they will have to sort this out with the liquidators. Anything which stops people being able to take part in sport is a cause for concern. Hopefully this matter will be resolved as soon as possible.”

Accountancy firm French Duncan was installed as liquidators on June 19.

Eileen Blackburn, partner and head of business recovery at French Duncan, said: “Discussions are presently ongoing with a number of interested parties and we are working to resolve this issue.”

Representatives from Serve & Volley could not be reached for comment.

Earlier this month, it was announced that work on the Edinburgh Accies stadium is set to begin in summer 2015 after being given the green light by city planners. Scotland’s oldest rugby club is set to revamp its ground into a state-of-the-art hub boasting a 5000-capacity stadium, new clubhouse, function suite and museum.