Home » Changes to sports pitch booking system backed as ‘fair’ and ‘consistent’
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Changes to sports pitch booking system backed as ‘fair’ and ‘consistent’

The Centre for Sporting Excellence, Ystrad Mynach, in May 2023 (Pic: Google)

A NEW and “fair” booking policy for Caerphilly’s council-run artificial sports pitches will prioritise clubs in higher divisions.

Caerphilly Council’s leadership signed off on the new policy on Wednesday March 6, updating the booking policy to better reflect those used by football and rugby’s governing bodies.

It will “ensure a consistent and coordinated approach” to bookings at the Centre for Sporting Excellence, in Ystrad Mynach, and at 3G sports pitches across the county borough.

Rugby clubs will be given preference based on their current division, and clubs in the same league will be prioritised if they have “sustainable pathway” programmes for junior and youth players.

A similar procedure will be implemented for football teams, with clubs in the same division prioritised based on their youth and girls’ team programmes.

Junior football teams will be prioritised based on the Football Association of Wales’ tiered licensing system, and will also benefit clubs which display a “willingness and ability to grow the game, increase standards and improve levels of participation and performance”.

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In all cases, clubs based within Caerphilly County Borough will be prioritised over out-of-county teams.

But the new system will not apply in a few cases where the council has already struck partnership agreements, such as with Dragons Rugby and Coleg Y Cymoedd.

The new booking policy will come into force at 13 council-run 3G pitches around the county borough from June, to prepare for winter booking slots for the 2024/25 rugby and football seasons.

The football pitches at Heolddu and Pontllanfraith leisure centres, however, will only use the new booking policy at peak times (on weekends, and at 6pm-8pm, Mondays to Thursdays) and slots will be available at other times of the week on a first come, first served basis.

At the cabinet meeting on March 6, Caerphilly Council leader Sean Morgan said the “evidence-based” new policy seemed “the fair way” to allocate pitch bookings.

Cllr Chris Morgan, the cabinet member for leisure, agreed the system was “good news” for the council.

Jared Lougher, the council’s sport and leisure development manager, told the meeting the changes meant Caerphilly was “hopefully going to see an increase in participation across the county borough”.

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