Footballers forced to play away as pitch is occupied

The Commercial FC team

The Commercial FC team

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A Sunday League football team has been forced to move after gypsies took over their pitch.

Commercial FC have been told to “avoid confrontation” by their local council and will now move a cup tie they were due to play tomorrow to an away venue.

About a dozen caravans straddle the length of the pitch off Broadway in Barnsley and some have their own generators and aerials outside.

The team was due to play there tomorrow afternoon but have now been forced to switch the game to an away venue.

Manager Michael Thomas, 29, said: “We played last Sunday morning and the travellers came that night or Monday morning.

“I’ve spoken to Barnsley Council and they told me not to play the game to avoid confrontation.

“It is a cup game and we were supposed to be at home and now we’re having to play away so will incur travel costs for that.

“They are driving their cars and vans on the pitch and ruining it. It is annoying because last week was the first time I have seen the pitch looking so good.

“I dare not even look at it now I might cry. It is frustrating because we can’t do anything about it.”

The club is now calling for Barnsley Council to make the site more secure.

It is not the first time Commercial FC have been forced off their own pitch by gypsies.

Mr Thomas said: “It happened a while ago and we had to cancel games before the season so that disrupted us.

“We played a friendly and had to go and knock on the caravans to ask them to move. There are some junior and senior teams who use the pitch as well. It is quite dangerous when you think about it.

“More than anything it is the rubbish that they leave behind. They chuck all their dirty nappies on the pitch and we’ve had to clear it up before.”

Barnsley Council said legal action was being taken to remove the travellers.

“We will serve a notice instructing the travellers to vacate the playing field by 12 noon on Monday,” said a spokesman.

“Failure to do so will result in an application being made to the court for their eviction.”

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