Team anger over pitch fees

Mossend Football Club has 80 young players turning out at Sir Matt Busby Complex and officials claim theyre not getting a fair deal over the cost of hiring the facility
Mossend Football Club has 80 young players turning out at Sir Matt Busby Complex and officials claim theyre not getting a fair deal over the cost of hiring the facility

A boys’ football club says youngsters are facing a financial penalty because of the “scandalous” pricing policy for public pitches.

Mossend Football Club pays nearly three times as much to hire the all-weather surface at Bellshill’s Sir Matt Busby Complex because it’s involved in seven-a-side games, not eleven-a-side.

However, North Lanarkshire Leisure denies being a bad sport and points out that each player is paying less than £1.50 for two hours use of the facility.

Richard Newell, Mossend FC chairman, insisted the policy is unfair, claiming football legend Sir Matt would be “turning in his grave” at the situation.

He said: “We have been established since 1963 and are a community club run by volunteers, providing health and social skills to more than 300 local kids through playing football.

“This is a scandalous pricing policy that our under-12s, 11s, tens and nines are incurring from NL Leisure.”

NL Leisure, which runs sports facilities on behalf of North Lanarkshire Council, charges £40 for the hire of a full pitch for two hours.

Mossend FC has been allocated a 2017-2018 serial let at Sir Matt Busby Complex which gives the teams, comprising 80 youngsters, two hours playing time each Saturday.

However, because the youngsters play on only a third of the pitch the surface is divided into three sections. The club is charged £19 per hour for each section, meaning a total cost of £114.

Mr Newell said: “Our young teams play the seven-a-side format as regulated by the Scottish Football Association. NL Leisure have jumped on this and instead of charging £40 per full pitch hire for any 11-a-side team are now charging per third,”

A spokesman for North Lanarkshire Leisure denied the fees were unreasonable. He said: “We charge £40 for two hours for a full court booking, but this must be for a proper 90-minute game with two 11-a-side teams and a referee.

“Mossend Football Club’s training requirements are for three seven-a-side pitch bookings and the rate for this is £19 per pitch per hour. This works out at £114 for a two-hour booking.

“The club has around 80 players training at any one time and this works out at less than £1.50 per player for two hours use of the facility.”