Jan 30 2014 by Sophie McCoid, Skelmersdale Advertiser
MORE than 1,000 youngsters who play football in Ormskirk and Skelmersdale missed their games last weekend, as they made a huge statement about the lack of investment in grassroots football.
The chairman of the Ormskirk and Skelmersdale football league is now calling for more financial support for the sport.
Local people are now being urged to sign a fast growing petition, calling for Premier League football clubs to contribute 7.5% of their broadcast income to the grassroots game.
There is an existing agreement to give 5%, but it allows the contribution to fall below 1%, which has caused fury among local clubs.
Skelmersdale and Ormskirk League chairman Kevin Duffy , said: “It’s all about Premier clubs sending money down to smaller leagues.
“It costs a fortune to run a club and currently the pitches we have are nowhere near good enough. A little bit of rain and the pitches are no good. They are by far the worst issue.”
The state of the pitches that the league uses means that playing the game is often not an option and matches have to be either rescheduled or even abandoned.
Mr Duffy, 29, said: “The council doesn’t do anything to help the league; they barely even come down to see the goings-on or the ground itself.
“The current facilities are nowhere near good enough and the kids miss out.”
Mr Duffy, who has been coaching for nine years, joined Ormskirk’s football team when he was 16, before becoming the club’s secretary aged 20 and then finally a member of the Ormskirk league committee. He has been a chair member for the Ormskirk team for about five years.
He said he fully supports the protests that took place last weekend.
Mr Duffy, who lives in Beacon Green, Skelmersdale, said: "Around 1,000 of our kids have missed football in our league last weekend to make a statement about lack of investment in grassroots football.
“It’s wrong, not one kid was born a Premier League club superstar. They all start in grassroots football and we need to protect it."
He explained how he hoped the future of the club was a brighter one.
“It would be nice to think that our grass roots league drove the campaign for change and improvements in facilities.”