Young footballers in Caithness are playing – or not playing – on flooded pitches and having to share showers due to failing facilities.
This is the first season – since being formed in 1998 – that Thurso FC have not played one home match on the Dammies pitch in the town as it has been waterlogged all winter.
Murray Coghill, president of Caithness Amateur Football Association (CAFA) and chairman of Thurso Acks FC, said the north of the Highlands was being ignored and forgotten.
He said: “The state of grass football pitches, particularly the Sir Georges Park (Dammies) in Thurso, is shocking.
“I would like to embarrass Highland Council into actually doing something about the problems with the drains and also the showers in the changing rooms.”
The three Thurso Clubs – Acks, Swifts and Pentland – who use the Dammies during the summer are unsure if they will be able to fulfil their home fixtures this season due to the on-going problem.
Mr Coghill claimed the creation of new housing schemes has had an impact on drainage.
He said: “This situation came to a head in 2017 when we had some severe flash floods and the football pitch was totally submerged in water.”
Mr Coghill has approached Highland Council and High Life Highland (HLH) but said he’d yet to receive any positive response.
“This is the first season since being formed that Thurso FC have not played one home match on the Dammies.
“The three Thurso Clubs who use the Dammies during the summer are wondering if they will be able to fulfil their home fixtures this season due to this on-going problem.
“I find it difficult to comprehend that in a town with a population of eight to nine thousand people there isn’t one decent grass football pitch with good facilities to go with it.
“Some 10-to 15-years ago there used to be five or six grass football pitches.”
Local councillors are backing the call for action, but claim the difficulty is with the association with High Life Highland, which makes it more difficult to provide funding.
Councillor Matthew Reiss said: “We have provided £600 to reseed Dammies, but more needs to be done.”
And councillor Struan Mackie added: “It is a messy financial affair which affects the local community.”