THOUSANDS of amateur footballers across Doncaster are being warned clear up or clear off - because of concerns over litter and behaviour.
Officials representing leagues which contain over 6,000 players between them have been warned of the threat and have agreed to pass concerns on to hundreds of clubs across the borough.
The threats have been made because of concerns over the levels of litter being left in the borough’s parks following matches, and because of complaints to borough authorities over the behaviour of some players.
Doncaster Council is sending enforcement officers out to the playing fields across the borough on match days as part of the action.
They will look for littering and anti-social behaviour like foul language on the pitch which they say is causing offence to other park users.
The council says any clubs which are persistently involved in anti-social behaviour will have their pitch withdrawn if they play on council sites. It will also issue a £75 fine to any person seen dropping litter.
Officials have had talks with officials from the Doncaster and District Football Association, the Doncaster Senior League, the Doncaster Junior Sunday League and the Doncaster Sunday Alliance League.
Doncaster Council’s cabinet member for communities, Coun Cynthia Ransome, said: “Littering at football matches in our parks is a huge problem. We have a lot of pitches and we have to go and pick up the litter.
“We have also received complaints about from residents about spitting and shouting by players. We are not happy about the standard of behaviour, and it is disrespectful to residents.
“Doncaster has a wide variety of wonderful open green spaces that are there to be enjoyed by all residents.
“Football clubs and their supporters will not be allowed to behave in a way which spoils these spaces for others.”
She added bad language and spitting was one of Mayor Peter Davies’ priorities, and council officers would call police if they thought players’ conduct warranted it.
John Preen, chairman of the Doncaster and District FA, said most clubs respect that pitches and playing fields are there to be enjoyed by the whole community, but the organisation would remind clubs of their responsibilities throughout the season.
He said he did not believe littering was a problem with clubs affiliated to the FA and believed rubbish may be more likely down to unofficial kickabouts among players not connected to clubs.
John Steel, secretary of the Doncaster Sunday Alliance League, said it was difficult to deal with spitting on pitches because in some cases players have to spit for medical reasons.