Increase in local pitch fees very unsporting?

by Gazette Reporter
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Local sports clubs are to be hit with increased charges for letting pitches owned by Fingal County Council, while school teams will also have to pay charges following a review by the council.

Local representatives were disappointed this week to receive a letter from Fingal County Council outlining a review of charges for the letting of Fingal playing pitches for season 2013/14.

The letter states that the changed charges are in line with other councils, South Dublin County Council and Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

The council will be introducing a charge for the letting of pitches to clubs with Juvenile teams (under 18) charged €30 per team with a maximum payment of €600 for 20 or more teams. For adult teams it is €600 per club with one adult team and €100 for each additional adult team.

The council is also introducing charges for schools of €30 a team to a maximum payment of €150 for five or more teams.
Charges for adult teams will remain the same as last year at €600 per team and €100 for each additional adult team (0/18s).

Meanwhile, the cost per month for summer leagues has increased from €80 (2012/13 season) to €100 (2013/14 season). For athletic clubs it’s gone from €60 to €100 per month, and for all other users from €120 to €300 per annum.

According to the council, the charges for 2012/13 Season and previous seasons were “extremely low” and clubs with juvenile teams were only required to pay Fingal County Council a total charge of €50 Administration Fee for the Season.

The council said the monies generated from the increase in fees will be offset against the rising costs for the maintenance of pitches.

Castleknock councillor Matt Waine (SP) said many sports clubs are already in financial hardship with the loss of sponsorships and payments due on referees etc and this will just add to that.

“Revenue streams that would have kept clubs afloat have substantially dried up, now we have a situation where Fingal are adding to that hardship by increasing the various pitch fees.

“There was no consultation with councillors whatsoever, just notified that this was going to be introduced.

“We are trying to make the council aware of the hardship of clubs and we will be putting them under pressure to try and withdraw this but this is an executive function of the county manager, councillors don’t have any say in it, but we certainly will be encouraging local clubs to robustly oppose these increases.”

He went on to say one club recently postponed their match because the grass was not cut, yet they still had to pay the referee.

“Local services are being curtailed and cut back and additional extra charges are being introduced to try and maintain services. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation as far as the clubs are concerned,” he added.

Labour councillor Mary McCamley said she is “disappointed” at this rise in charges “at this time when we are trying to encourage our children to be more active and when we are worried about obesity in our young people.

“It will put further pressure on the volunteers who go out every weekend to train and mentor these children and further pressure on parents to come up with more contributions towards the fees,” she added.

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