FOOTBALL fans fear they will have nowhere to play thanks to council policies on playing fields.

And Maidenbower Colts are one of the teams suffering under current Town Hall regulations, but if plans for a leisure centre come to fruition then more football pitches may be built in the neighbourhood.

Club secretary Andy Hains explained: "It is becoming increasingly difficult to book the pitches at Maidenbower Playing Fields.

"Maidenbower has a senior team and an under-15s team which cannot play their home games at Maidenbower because of Crawley Borough Council's policy that the Crawley Football League gets first priority over all pitches in Crawley.

"I get fobbed off by the council telling me that only one game can be played on a pitch per weekend, then I see for myself, other teams playing on the same pitch on a Sunday.

"Now I understand the football community officer will be using the pitches here on Saturdays instead of the fields at Broadfield, where they used to be based ,because of the new Fastway bus system being built.

"And the Crawley Youth League is working with the council to make Maidenbower Playing Fields the location for all small-sided football in Crawley."

A spokeswoman for Crawley council said: "No team in Crawley has a home ground and the Maidenbower pitches are not just for the use of Maidenower residents. There are many neighbourhoods in Crawley with no sporting facilities and everybody has to share.

"They can use the Knepp Close ground in Pound Hill on a Saturday which is only a five minute drive and walkable.

"We do try not to have games on a Saturday and a Sunday to rest the pitch.

"But there is a slight complication at the moment because the girls' team trains there and cannot share the changing rooms with any male teams.

"We've also had Knepp Close and Rathlin Road out of use because of fire damage.

"But we do try to accommodate people wherever we can and the council is currently working to build new sporting facilities across town, including a new leisure centre in Maidenbower, to be in place by 2005."