A YOUTH football team says it is being "forced out" of its community by not being allowed to use its normal pitch.

Bursledon Sharks FC has for the past year and a half, played its matches at Bursledon Recreational Ground.

But since returning to football as restrictions have eased, they have had no choice to look elsewhere after the parish Council told them they couldn't use their usual pitch.

The team has now been helped by another team who have offered their pitch for use, but club secretary Lee Collier, says this is having an affect on the team as it is not able to play in the community it is named after.

Lee said: "With Covid, the season was suspended and once Boris announced that we could get back to it, we emailed Bursledon Parish Council advising that we were looking to get going again with the season again and they told came back and said no.

"We had told them before, but they left it until about a week before the season was about to resume to say 'no you can't do this'.

"They said they set the cricket pitch up and the football pitch needs to rest until the season starts again. But why does it need to rest? It hasn't been played on for months."

Currently the team runs an under 11s team and an under 12s team, but with two more teams set to start up soon, Lee said that about 45 children could be affected by this.

Whilst they have been without a ground, the team has played all its matches away from home and is currently due to continue playing its remaining fixtures until June due to a delay caused by the pandemic.

Now though, looking ahead to next season, Lee is hoping that the team can come to an agreement with the council to continue in Bursledon.

He added: "We're looking at other venues all outside of Bursledon if we are not able to come to some sort of agreement which I think is sad. There's enough green space in Bursledon to be able to accommodate us."

Bursledon Parish Council was approached for comment but did not respond.