Selkirk clubs clash over rise in facilities fee

Selkirk Junior footballers and coaches at Selkirk High School
Selkirk Junior footballers and coaches at Selkirk High School

Selkirk Football Club have defended their decision to impose a 440 per cent price hike on the town’s junior club by saying “it’s time they got in the real world”.

The decision to increase charges for the use of facilities at Yarrow Park was voted on and unanimously agreed at a meeting of Selkirk FC’s committee on February 28, and an email sent to the youths’ outfit from seniors secretary Sheree Davidson stated that the new charge was not negotiable.

It continued: “Failure to pay will result in access being denied and locks will be changed.”

Selkirk Junior FC (SJFC), however, have responded by saying that the increase is too much and are refusing to cough up.

The juniors previously paid £250 per annum for use of the pitches and clubroom facilities, and were prepared to go up to £600, but feel the £1,350 (£150 per month for nine months) now being demanded is out of their league.

“It’s just ludicrous to ask a junior club (primary fours to Under-17s) to pay that much for the use of facilities and we won’t be paying it,” said SJFC vice-chairman Ian Campbell.

“We should be encouraging these kids to play football by keeping the costs as low as possible. They already pay for use of the astro pitch at Selkirk High School in the winter, and we feel that to charge them even more would be pricing some of the kids out of the game. We haven’t even been given a breakdown of what those charges are for.”

However, senior club chairman Ross Anderson feels the proposed fee is fair in the current climate, although did concede that the juniors would not be shut out if they refused to pay.

“Our annual pay-out from the SFA went down from £15,000-£18,000 to £4,000 several years ago and since then we have had to be very much self-sufficient,” he told The Southern.

“Selkirk Juniors are not part of this club, at their own request, and we don’t see any reason why we should subsidise them any more. They want something for nothing and I’m afraid in the real world that just doesn’t happen.

“The last thing we want to do is stop kids playing football, so we won’t be locking them out, but if their committee refuse to pay the new fee, which equates to £1 a month for the 150 kids they have playing, then they can have the pitch for free, but pay their share of maintenance, insurance and utility charges themselves.”

Campbell, who also coaches a section of the juniors, is relatively new to the committee, but believes an incredible injustice is being done which could harm the future of football in the town.

“Maybe I was being a bit naive when I first came in, but I was hoping that a structured development plan could be put in place. It’s a bit sad to realise that is not likely to be the case,” he added.