I read with interest the article by John Hayes, headlined “Protect grass roots sport at all costs”.
His noble statements on doping and the rugby World Cup lead to the comments on grass roots football being enjoyed by those who love the integrity, fairness and purity of the sport and who also appreciate its importance to communal well being.
He is, of course, absolutely correct in what he says, but he knows full well that, behind the scenes, it takes hundreds of hours of donated time and money to enable this to happen.
In your paper, much has been made of the new facilities at Holbeach United community sports academy.
They are something to be proud of, however, the real background to this facility is that it was conceived over 10 years ago and it took the generosity of a local businessman to fund its design and construction after an elongated and convoluted grant application process that would, quite frankly, make someone wonder if they should still have the will to live.
If Mr Hayes and his government really want to protect grass roots sport at all costs, then they should take a long hard look at the VAT situation in relation to these facilities.
It is incredible that you have to pay it. The amount that ends up in government coffers would fund another pitch, floodlights or just ensure that the facility could be run week in, week out.
If Mr Hayes really wants to protect the game, he should speak to George Osborne and ask him to make the provision and running of sports facilities zero rated for VAT and have a look at the grants process as well.