Pitch battle over prices for East Dunbartonshire teams

A LEADING football coach has urged council chiefs to give teams a sporting chance.

Campsie Black Watch manager Gerry Marley says the cost of hiring astro-grass pitches and indoor halls is "way too high".

Mr Marley said his team was recently charged 90 to use the Merkland astro-grass facility for a friendly game.

Similar concerns were raised recently by Kirkintilloch Miners Welfare FC, who were charged 131 to use the astro-turf pitch at the new St. Ninian's High School.

The cost included a late booking fee of 15 for notifying the council less than five working days prior to a booking.

The sub-zero weather conditions have meant that clubs have been unable to play on grass pitches and have had to use other facilities.

Mr Marley said: "The recent bad weather has once again placed many football clubs in financial difficulties, because of the money required to use council facilities for training and playing.

"The council charges a late booking fee for the St. Ninian's High pitch, but what if it was going to be lying idle on a Saturday and someone called to book it on a Friday, would they be charged a late fee?

"The council said in a recent statement that the costs are divided between all players involved, but it's up to the home team to pay for the hire of a pitch."

An East Dunbartonshire Council spokesperson said: "The council has a contract with the management company of the PPP schools for janitorial cover.

"It would be impossible to guarantee janitorial cover at such short notice, i.e. the day before a proposed match.

"The reason the council requests a period of five days notice is to ensure that janitorial cover for a match will be possible."