Tamworth Borough Council have seemingly decided to ignore Government guidance on the hiring of sports pitches in the Borough.
The Government, responding to evidence presented to them showing that the process of FA affiliation was discriminating against inactive people, issued guidance through the Football Foundation last year effectively putting an end to the discrimination over FA affiliation, and making it clear that this should not be a factor in the hiring of sports pitches nationwide.
Tamworth Borough Council, whilst admitting they knew about the guidance, said that they were going to continue to favour FA affiliated groups over and above ordinary members of the public.
Andy Thorley, Head of Media at Leisure Leagues said: “Most Councils now understand they cannot go explicitly against Government guidance and, to be fair to Tamworth Borough Council, they did accept they had got this wrong and were very apologetic. However, they have still said they prefer FA affiliated groups, and this is a very real concern as it means they may still pursue a policy of discrimination against the very people in society that we need to get fit. We have asked them why they wish to pursue this policy but so far they have refused to comment”.
Mr Thorley continued: “We need to get to the bottom of why a council like Tamworth, a Conservative controlled Authority appears to want to ignore advice from a Conservative Government, and it shouldn’t take being exposed in the media in order to simply follow what they should be doing in the first place.
Tamworth Borough Council have subsequently said that whilst they prefer FA affiliated groups, their actual policy is that they hire pitches on a first come first served basis.
Mr Thorley said: “The problem is that they drop one policy, and now introduce another but the truth appears to be that they don’t actually believe in their new policy because we have evidence, which we will be showing in a documentary in September, that they don’t really believe in their stated policy of first come first served at all, which must lead the public to believe that they are simply producing smokescreens in order to continue to ignore Government guidance”.
“We have advised the Council that their position would be better served simply by holding their hands up and admitting they have made errors rather than simply digging a bigger hole for themselves, especially as serious allegations have been put to them, and they don’t appear to want to address what is a pretty simple and straightforward solution”.
“Even more alarmingly, the Council wrote to us saying that no elected member of the Council would be interviewed by us for the documentary, yet we have confirmed with several elected members of Tamworth Borough Council that they haven’t been spoken to by the Council’s leadership at all”.
“Our advice would be, when you’re in a hole, stop digging. It is far better that the Council comes to the table and talks openly and transparently rather than risk being exposed in a negative way through the media. It all looks as though people are simply covering each other’s backs, rather than addressing an injustice and solving the problem which is a pretty straightforward one to solve. It does make you wonder what they are afraid of”.
“Leisure Leagues represents thousands of Tamworth local taxpayers and residents. The fact the Council doesn’t want to speak to a representative of those people is a terrible indictment on their position”.
“They really need to sit around a table and thrash this out otherwise the negative media exposure is only going to intensify for them”.
Josh FletcherBack to Blog