Football club fury at Flintshire Council over ‘dangerous’ pitch

Reporter:

Lois Hough

A FOOTBALL club has taken Flintshire Council to task about rental charges for a pitch its members say is dangerous.

And officials of the Hare and Hounds Football Club, whose team plays at the Connah’s Quay Naval Club twice a week, say it is unfair that they pay £320 a season to hire a pitch when they do not have changing rooms.

Assistant manager Chris Roberts says three players have already sustained ankle injuries on the pitch this season.

He said: “There are holes all over the pitch which are causing serious injuries to players, to the extent that we are running out of players in a game.

“I come to every match prepared with ice packs because I know what is going to happen.

“When you’re paying this ridiculous amount to hire a pitch you expect that it is well-maintained and safe.

“All we’re trying to do is keep going.”

In addition to the cost of hiring the pitch, the club pays £175 to use the changing rooms at a nearby cricket club.

Mr Roberts said: “We should be entitled to a discount on the yearly fee to compensate for the extra fees we have to pay to hire a changing room. It is unacceptable.”

The club, whose team competes in the Deeside Sunday League, says it does not want to move to another pitch because the one it uses is the closest to the Hare and Hounds pub, of which it is associated.

“The (pub) manager, Cornelius Burke, bends over backwards for us,” said Mr Roberts.

“He provides and washes our kits and puts on a meal for us after every game.

“This pitch is the closest to the pub and we want to stay where we are.”

Mike Hornby, head of leisure services at Flintshire Council, said the club would not be eligible for a discount.

He said: “In reintroducing a pitch fee for senior teams in 2010-11, we did so on the basis of what was the 2008-09 fee for pitch use without changing rooms.

“We used to have a fee for those pitches with changing rooms and it was £380 per annum in 2008.

“Therefore we went for the lower of the two previous charges for the 2010-11 tariff and there is no discount available.”

See full story in the Leader

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