Yeovil Town have issued their first response tonight in reply to the two statements issued by Westland Sports over the past week. Last week's initial statement by the Dorset Premier League Champions was followed up by a decidedly sharp statement from Westland Sports Chairman Brian Rousell on Saturday that hit out at the people he believed were responsible for his club losing the main pitch facilities at Alvington Lane.
Tonight, the club have responded to what they describe as "unjustified criticism" stating that the two bottom pitches that Westland Sports have been left with exceed the standards of almost all Dorset Premier League and Western League sides adding that they have been providing Westland with "substantial annual subsidies". With the land owned by the separate Yeovil Town Community Trust organisation, the statement maintains the club's position that the main Alvington pitch will be used for first team training next season.
The unedited statement reads as follows:
"Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust, Yeovil Town FC, Gary Johnson and Agusta Westland are extremely disappointed at the unjustified criticism that has been levelled at them for the change in pitch arrangements that have been notified to Westland Sports FC for next season.
"Westland Sports FC as part of the Westland Leisure Complex was originally relocated by Agusta Westland to the new pitches and changing facilities at Alvington in 2003. Some four years ago when the Yeovil Town Community Sports Trust was formed by its principal sponsors Yeovil Town FC and Agusta Westland, the Trust agreed with Agusta Westland to assume responsibility for the management and maintenance of Alvington which was becoming very difficult for Westland Leisure Complex to undertake.
"Under the Trust's management, the quality of all the pitches has been significantly improved so that maximum utility could be achieved by a variety of participants with the main pitch being maintained to a particularly high standard. This has been accomplished at considerable cost.
"Over the last three years alone over £90,000 has been spent on drainage, irrigation and annual maintenance of which Westland Sports has provided less than 20% of the cost for over 90% of the pitch utilisation. It is regrettable this substantial contribution by the Trust to Westland Sports FC's recent success has gone without credit.
"There is a chronic shortage of football pitches in Yeovil and particularly ones of good quality. Yeovil Town FC does not have its own training ground. For a professional Football League club this is clearly less than ideal. The pitches at Huish Park are no longer fit for purpose and for the majority of last season the first team trained at Sherborne Boys School. It is imperative this situation is addressed and training facilities are brought into line with the status Yeovil Town FC has achieved.
"As with many charities in the current economic climate, income levels are becoming increasingly difficult to maintain and the Trust is not immune to the problems this creates. The directors/trustees have a fiduciary duty and a legal responsibility to ensure the Charity remains financially viable. It cannot therefore continue to provide Westland Sports FC with substantial annual subsidies. Combined with Yeovil Town FC's essential need for a training surface for the 2012/2013 season there was little option other than to inform Westland Sports FC of a change in arrangements for their future pitch utilisation.
"Westland Sports FC has been offered the use of two pitches for next season which they will have to maintain themselves but should have enabled continued membership for their first team, reserves and U18's in the Leagues in which they currently participate. It is regrettable and extraordinary this should have precipitated the resignations of the first team manager, assistant manager and physio and the withdrawal from the Dorset Premier League next season.
"The pitches that remain available to Westlands Sports FC certainly exceed the standards of almost every other surface in the DPL and indeed the Western League so neither the Community Sports Trust or Yeovil Town FC accept responsibility for this decision. The Trust, Yeovil Town Football Club and Agusta Westland have provided Westland Sports with support that would be the envy of most other local clubs and it is understandable that the principals and players at the club are disappointed that the support cannot be maintained at the current levels but the criticism of the decisions that have necessarily been made in the last week is disproportionate and misplaced.
"Everyone involved at the Trust and YTFC wish Westland Sports FC well for the future and sincerely hope the Club will retake its place in the DPL as soon as possible."
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