THOUSANDS of junior footballers across Merseyside could boycott matches next weekend in protest against pitch fee rises.
Teams from leagues in Liverpool and Warrington are expected to join players from Sefton in their fight against proposed increases.
Coaches across the region fear for the future of junior football as local authorities try to balance budgets.
Under proposals in Sefton, rental costs of a seven-a- side pitch, used by players up to 11-years-old, could increase from £180 per club per season to around £750. For 11-a-side pitches, used by players 12 and up, fees could increase from £700 to around £1,700.
Junior teams unaffected by the possible rises are planning a show of support for neighbouring leagues.
Junior coach Kenny Saunders, who manages several teams at Woolton FC, is organising next weekend’s boycott of matches.
He said: “If it happens in Sefton there will be a knock-on effect and it will happen in Warrington and Liverpool.
“I’m hoping we can get people on board.”