City’s football pitches to remain free

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The campaign's slogan ©Twitter/Kenny9Saunders

The campaign’s slogan ©Twitter/Kenny9Saunders

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has pledged that the council will continue to support football in the community by not charging pitch fees.

Although the city council is currently dealing with huge central government cuts, Anderson has made it clear that grassroots football will not be in the firing line.

In fact, he has announced that the council will be making a ‘significant investment’ in football pitches around Liverpool in the near future.

In his announcement, Anderson said he is “fully aware” of the state of the pitches and facilities and that he is looking for ways to improve them and create new ones.

Liverpool is one of the only councils in the country not to charge junior teams for the use of football pitches. Although the council does not charge junior teams to use pitches, the cost for youngsters to play can still be expensive.

Former footballer-turned-coach, and Liverpool resident, Kenny Saunders set up a campaign called ‘Save Grass Roots Football’ last March, to raise awareness of how little money there is in junior football and lobby for more investment.

He told JMU journalism: “The saddest thing for me is that, certainly in the city of Liverpool the next Rooney or Gerrard could be out there. But they’re sat in there house not playing football, because their mum or dad may not be able to afford to pay for them to play every week.”

The campaign has helped to raise awareness of the issue, but so far there Saunder’s believes there has not been enough action and he wants more done before it’s too late.

He continued: “Youngsters that just want to play a game that costs nothing really are struggling, whilst you’ve got players like Wayne Rooney getting £300,000 a week to do it. It’s unbelievable really.”

Saunders has suggested that one way of improving grassroots football could be to implement a 1% levy on player’s wages that creates a fund for junior football.

About Joshua Weale, JMU Journalism