FOOTBALL teams could be forced to fold as a result of the ongoing wet weather.
That’s the fear of Kent Blaxill Essex and Suffolk Border League chairman Brian Tatum. The saturated conditions have led to weekend after weekend of postponements - and some teams have not played at home since mid-December.
That means they have been hit in the pocket, losing vital income across the bar and in terms of refreshments.
And Tatum fears this soggy spell could have dire consequences for some sides. “I fear we may lose a few clubs,” said the long-serving league stalwart. “It’s a nightmare and a lot of sides rely on the little money they generate on a matchday.
“That income will be dropping alarmingly.
“Everyone is suffering and it’s a hell of a strain - the worst winter I can remember, in terms of rainfall.
“Games will have to be rearranged for midweek but income drops by 50 per cent when that happens, compared to a Saturday.
“Attendances drop and it means less money is spent in the bar and on refreshments.
“Border League clubs rely on Saturday fixtures.
“It’s as simple as that and as things stand, clubs will cramming games in, playing on a Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday.
“However, people only have a limited disposable income and by the law of averages they’re probably only going to go to one of those games - probably the weekend fixture.”
Tatum says the league season is highly likely to be extended into the second weekend of May.
Prior to last weekend’s call-offs, every fixture had been rescheduled.
Three games have been scheduled for the first weekend of May, but with more postponements expected the season will have to go on even longer.
Meanwhile, the Border League are still on the look-out for a new sponsor.
Long-term backer Kent Blaxill are pulling out at the end of the season.
There were a couple of “tentative enquires” from other companies, when the story first appeared in the Gazette.
But they came to nothing and the league’s committee recently drafted a letter to 25 businesses in and around Colchester.
Tatum is “optimistic” there will be at least one positive response and said: “We need to get this issue sorted.
“Otherwise we’ll have to raise our affiliation fees and that will be another kick in the teeth for Border League clubs.”