Sunday league teams want more support from FA and council
- Credit: Archant
Amateur football teams want more support from the Football Association and the council as they face rising pressures from pitch fees and administration.
The 42 clubs in the Herts Advertiser Sunday League pay St Albans council £650 a season to rent out pitches and changing facilities for 16 matches, yet very rarely get to play that many and get no rebates.
The league was started by Roy Scott in the 1960s and now boasts 50 teams playing in five different ranked divisions of around 10. Because of the number of divisions, clubs often do not play as many games as they pay for.
Mr Scott said: “The Herts FA appear not to know how difficult it is to run a football team.
“I suggested several years ago the Herts FA should have officers who get out and about and go and help a club who maybe have just one person trying his best to raise the money a team needs to keep going, but at that time they just kept issuing fine after fine until the club that was struggling just folded.
“About eight to ten years ago I worked out clubs in our league paid over £22,000 in fines in one season to the Herts FA, which meant clubs were folding on a regular basis.”
The league has to provide its own referees and pay fees for to use council pitches.
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St Albans’ fees are lower than other council areas, but Mr Scott thinks clubs would be better off if they could buy 10 matches to avoid VAT charges.
The council’s head of community services Joe Tavernier said: “Our pitch-hire fees are low compared to other local authorities and offer good value for money to the sport clubs that use them.
“Moreover, all the money raised goes towards grounds maintenance.
“The fee structure was established some time ago and we are now reviewing it to see if it still meets the needs of regular users.
“One of the issues we will be looking at is the number of block-booked games that should qualify for a discount.”
Herts FA say they run both the Extra Time and the Retain the Game funds to support adult male teams.
A spokesperson added: “We are actively encouraging teams to apply for this and will support them to attain the funding criteria if they do not meet it currently.”