Suffolk Football Association (FA) chief executive Laura Smith has hit back at claims the county association scuppered Bury Town’s move to Moreton Hall, claiming it was never the organisation’s job to relocate the Blues.
Suffolk FA blamed a perceived lack of enthusiasm from Suffolk County Council towards shared facilities with a proposed new secondary school when they pulled the plug on £250,000 of funding for the community football project three weeks ago — but have now also revealed escalating costs were a major cause for concern.
The move drew criticism from officials at Bury Town and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, but Smith said Suffolk FA will offer help to the Blues’ application for funding for Ram Meadow and work with St Edmundsbury Borough Council to identify new sites for 3G artificial pitches.
“Suffolk FA’s initial decision to invest was to contribute to the community football element of this project and not to fund the relocation of Bury Town FC,” she said. “We made a decision to contribute to the cost of a 3G pitch, grass pitches for youth/mini soccer and indoor space to deliver Suffolk FA learning courses and workshops, which would have supported the whole Bury community, including all the clubs in the area, not just Bury Town FC.
“The initial decision to invest was also based upon a desire to generate revenue through the community facilities, which would have been reinvested into grassroots football across the whole of Suffolk.
“The escalating costs of the project have made this prohibitive and Suffolk FA has a duty to protect our finances on behalf of all our members.
“We continue to support Bury Town FC and our football development manager is providing guidance and direction with funding applications to improve Ram Meadow.
“We are working with St Edmundsbury Borough Council as they develop a playing pitch strategy, which will help identify strategic facility projects in the future.”