Coldstream Amateur Football Club’s future hangs in the balance because from next year they will have no changing rooms or shower facilities.
The team of local players has been using facilities at Coldstream Football Club’s Home Park pavilion since the mid-1970s. However, the arrangement between the town’s two clubs cannot continue beyond next season because of new SFA regulations.
The Scottish Football Association is unbending when it comes to insisting that member clubs upgrade their facilities to obtain a licence by 2015.
And Coldstream Amateurs’ appeals to the Border Amateur League have so far been unsuccessful and they have been told that it would be “difficult if not impossible” to change fixtures so the ‘Ammies’ and Coldstream Football did not have home games on the same day.
The ‘Ammies’ now believe they will either have to look for new premises or disband the club, something Coldstream Football Club chairman Steve Wright says “will not happen on my watch”.
Coldstream Football Club are making a number of changes to the top pitch at Home Park and the pavilion to comply with the new SFA regulations and retain full membership. This includes changes to the interior of the pavilion so that home and away changing rooms contain their own showers.
Up to now, two shower blocks were shared between four changing rooms which enabled the senior and amateur teams to both play at home on the same day. But that has to change to comply with a host of SFA criteria. More space within the building is also needed to comply with other requirements.
This includes expanding the referees’ room and creating an extra shower. An additional toilet has to be accommodated and the club must also put in place separate rooms for first aid and doping control.
The initial plan to retain four changing rooms was dropped when grant applications made by Coldstream Football Club - to put up a perimeter fence, extend the pavilion and erect a covered grandstand for spectators - fell short.
The pavilion extension had to be dropped because all other changes are essential to meet the SFA’s strict criteria. The grandstand is now being built on the site originally earmarked for the extension. The number of changing rooms within the pavilion itself is being reduced from four to two in order to accommodate all the other essential rooms and facilities set out by the SFA.
Representatives of the amateur club attended a meeting of Coldstream & District Community Council last week to explain their dilemma.
“The plan was for an extension to the pavilion, however, in February the East of Scotland side got their funding but it didn’t include enough to develop the pavilion which has left us in this position,” explained David Whitecross.
He said an approach to the Border Amateur League to ask if fixtures could be changed when home matches clash with the senior side has been turned down. Changing the kick-off time would also be unworkable, Mr Whitecross explained, because the SFA would not allow the same changing facilities to be used by more than one team on the same day.
This leaves Coldstream Amateurs with two choices next summer – disband or find somewhere else.
One option being considered is the installation of a portable unit at the bottom of Home Park behind the toilet block at the Court House car park and talks are on-going with Scottish Borders Council about the practicalities.