Lack of facilities and the changing face of football

PUBLISHED: 12:25 16 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:40 06 May 2010

What's left of the Baldock pavilion

What's left of the Baldock pavilion

DELAYS in restoring facilities at sports grounds are contributing to the declining numbers of Sunday league footballers. That is the view of Hitchin Sunday League chairman Richard Hunt who said that some teams cannot field 11 players because of the lack o

DELAYS in restoring facilities at sports grounds are contributing to the declining numbers of Sunday league footballers.

That is the view of Hitchin Sunday League chairman Richard Hunt who said that some teams cannot field 11 players because of the lack of adequate amenities.

Mr Hunt believes the delays by North Herts District Council in building new facilities and refurbishing those in poor condition may reduce the current number of 34 league teams even further.

He said: "At the present time a number of teams are finding it a struggle to raise a full team.

"At a recent meeting of the clubs it was apparent that this was down to the lack of or inadequate changing rooms with showers etc."

He also warned that if nothing was done soon "there will be no senior level amateur football within North Herts in about two years".

Mr Hunt said players have to change in the open air or in their vehicles and at some grounds match officials have to do the same. He said it was "extraordinary" that two female officials have to change into their kits in their cars.

He highlighted a number of locations that need work, including the facilities at both Baldock Road and the Grange grounds in Letchworth GC, and Walsworth Common, Hitchin.

Responding to the alleged delay, NHDC said: "Rather than make piecemeal changes to our pavilions we have taken a strategic look at the district-wide needs and now planned an achievable programme of refurbishment and replacement.

"This ensures that we are spending public money in the best way and, because we now have a strategy, we have better opportunities for external funding."

NHDC have also put out tenders for initial work to take place at the Grange.

According to Roger Harrison, head of communications at NHDC, £300,000 will be spent on facilities in the Grange alone.

Mr Hunt reacted by saying players have waited long enough.

He said: "It's extraordinary that it takes this amount of time. They could have put up a portable building or something but nothing was done.

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