Sports fees rise amid concern for the pitch – and the players

by Suzanna Parsons, Ross Watson and Huma Mian

St Helena sports fans need to exercise caution when exercising, with the state of Francis Plain causing growing concerns.

Rodney Buckley said: “The medical people are a little bit worried about the hardness of the field.

“The un-level playing field is causing health problems to sportspeople later in life in terms of jarring of their knees and that kind of stuff.”

Charges for using sports facilities on St Helena are to go up from 1 April 2013, to pay for improvements.

Mr Buckley, chairman of the island’s education committee, said: “Francis Plain itself is in a pretty bad state. It’s been like that now for some 30 years, with thousands of little feet running over it every day.

“The topsoil on Francis Plain is down to two or three inches and it’s not going to last too much longer. Before too long there’s going to be no grass.”

New charges will come into play on the first of April 2013.

Footballers could see a surge in costs of up to five times greater than that of last year.

New charges for football are 50p per game for an adult, and 25p for a child. Charities are to receive 50% discount to make sure the rise does not affect them like the others.

Last year the Football Association paid £76. With the new prices, it could find itself forking out up to £440.

The director of Education, Colin Moore, is concerned that there are insufficient sports on the curriculum and wants to see better facilities.

The government’s objective is to have a healthy community whereby it is safe for people of all ages to play.

St Helena’s national cricket team is in need of a better playing ground if it is to progress further in international tournaments.

Mr Buckley said teams would have to think of ways to meet the rise in fees. “We are living in a tough world,” he said. “We need to look at things a bit differently.

“Do they need to have all those trophies? Or is it time to ask people coming over to watch the sport to pay at the gate, or ask players to pay 25p on the day like they do with skittles? With skittles, you pay your 50p on the night.

“Everybody needs to rethink the way we do things.”

Suzanna Parsons, Ross Watson and Huma Mian are journalism students at Birmingham City University

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