FA could take over local football pitches

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The FA could start taking control of Liverpool pitches by March 2016 Pic © Wikimedia Commons/ Reptonix free Creative Commons licensed photos

The FA could start taking control of Liverpool pitches by March 2016 Pic © Wikimedia Commons/ Reptonix free Creative Commons licensed photos

The Football Association may take control of three of Liverpool’s public football pitches from next year.

The proposal comes as Liverpool City Council looks to find alternative ways for the sport to be funded at grassroots level.

The three football fields whose operator could change are Heron Eccles playing field in Allerton, the Jeffrey Humble playing fields in Fazakerley and the Simpson Ground in Woolton.

Merseyside Youth Association is currently in charge of running the three sites, but it has been served a Section 25 notice.

This means its association with the Heron Eccles site and the Simpson Ground will come to an end in spring 2016, while their lease at the Jeffrey Humble site still has nine years to run.

Mayor Joe Anderson has held talks with the FA, but Liberal Democrat councillor Richard Kemp, who is based on Allerton, has appealed to both parties to disclose the plans in their entirety to keep the community informed.

He told JMU Journalism: “The real problem is that we don’t know very much at all, and that’s my complaint to the council and the FA, they shouldn’t be just coming up with proposals in a dark room, they should be coming out to the local communities and councillors about how those sites can best be run so that everyone is satisfied. What is likely to happen is they’ll come out with ideas and the community will then oppose them because they haven’t been consulted.”

Kemp accepts that the council has to explore all options as the city is running out of money and that the funding from the FA could improve grassroots football, but he does have his concerns.

He added: “The problem that we’ve got is that the way the FA does things, is to commercialise football and that raises two issues. One, what happens to the people who can’t afford to do things through a commercial outlet?

“And the second, what does that mean for the sites? The Heron Eccles site has severe restrictions as to what you can do with it just because of where it is, it’s difficult to get to, if you put lights up it will affect hundreds of houses, so I want to be sure that what happens is good for the community and good for sport as well.”

About Sam Davies, JMU Journalism