AN Eastbourne football club says ‘other clubs and their players are ruining our pitches’ during Lockdown.

Willingdon Athletic Youth FC has issued a plea to the Eastbourne football economy.

It says: “Players across the country are impatiently waiting to get back to playing football.

Clubs have spent a lot of time making sure that this can happen as soon as they are given the green light, pitches are marked, new kits are ready, the coaches have been briefed.

However it would seem we have a new hurdle to jump over….other clubs and their players ruining our pitches. This is not exclusive to Willingdon Athletic, I have seen the opposition doing the same to other local teams’ grounds.

As a Club we ask our own players to respect other clubs and not train on their pitches. To practice at Huggetts Lane or at another larger green area, so we are practising what we preach.

Over the last year it has become increasingly hard to keep our pitches in the necessary state to be allowed to play matches on, despite the fact that more time and money have been spent on them than in previous years.

Despite the fact that our players and families respect our request not to train directly on the pitches if they come down to practice and instead use the many grassy areas to the side.

We have politely asked the same of non WAFC members, offering them use of our portable goals when out etc… However this is being ignored.

Increasingly annoying, and also breaking rules, is the fact that we are supposed to be in lockdown so no group training should be taking place, only 2 people at a time or one family. In the last 48 hours I have witnessed 5 groups on our smallest pitch and half of a local team!

Yes it may be a public recreation ground but why would you want to tear up another club’s pitches? Surely we are all in this together.

We can be competitive in matches but why dampen our chances of playing by ruining our pitches when you can train 5 metres to the side on an equally good terrain?

We have seen a massive increase in non WAFC teams using our pitches to train on this year as they cannot access their own due to covid restrictions.

Please can I point out that there are plenty of parks in Eastbourne, nearer to your own grounds, that do not hold pitches nor do they need to be used to host games for local children.

Please can I point out that of course we cannot stop you using a public recreation ground but out of courtesy, please use the unmarked areas.

The repairs cost the club, not the council, both financially and in volunteers time.

Please can I point out that we encourage players to train on our ground or at the bigger parks even if they live next to your club’s ground.”