Anger after new council booking system wreaks havoc on amateur football in Dundee

The council booking system has been changed
The council booking system has been changed

Amateur football supremo Steve McSwiggan reckons life’s a pitch after a new council booking system wreaked havoc with fixtures.

The Dundee Saturday Morning League secretary has been in charge since 2003, but this season a new system was introduced which means clubs must book their parks by the preceding Monday.

Steve, 48, insists it needs to be changed.

Steve McSwiggan

He said: “The new booking system was brought in this season and it means we are obliged to arrange a pitch on Monday morning for the Saturday.

“We also book dressing rooms and staff and I fully understand why the council is doing this, but in the past there was a pitch inspector and if your surface was frozen or waterlogged late on, then you could call him and get another fully-lined pitch.

“The total cost now to put a game on is £110 if you are using changing rooms and have a referee. It is a lot of money nowadays and has become so expensive that it is becoming a middle-class sport.

“My main point is that the new system doesn’t seem to have any flexibility. Don’t get me wrong, this is far from a moan. We have a good relationship with the council and instead of us using university pitches or hiring private ones, this puts money into the coffers of the council.

“The system just doesn’t seem to have been thought through. It strikes me as unfair.

“We have 32 clubs in our league and it affects them all. It is just frustrating.”

A Dundee City Council spokeswoman said: “We’ve recently reviewed the pitch booking arrangements, in consultation with the football associations and the match secretaries, and made amendments to make it more efficient and easier to use.

“We request that any bookings are made no later than Monday afternoon. If bookings arrive later we will try to be as flexible as possible to accommodate the booking.”