Councillor Andrew Judge, Leader of Merton Council, said: “We are pleased to announce that we have decided to work with AFC Wimbledon and Tooting & Mitcham Football clubs to provide a Football in the Community (FITC) scheme in Merton.
“The council does not intend to have any long-term involvement with any branded FITC schemes based outside of the borough. This arrangement will start in September and run for an initial period of two years and then reviewed. All the clubs involved have agreed to arrangements made for the summer holidays.
“There has been speculation recently that we approached Fulham FC to run our FITC scheme and I would like to set the record straight. It is not the case that we approached Fulham FC. The PFA made that decision and tried to impose it on us.
“Now we have had a chance to consider each proposal, we are fully behind AFC Wimbledon and Tooting & Mitcham and are confident that, in partnership with ourselves, they will both deliver a first class scheme that will benefit young people across the borough.
“As we have resisted the PFA decision other professional clubs may attempt to gain control of Merton’s FITC. I would like to make it very clear that we are issuing a ‘Hands off’ warning and I would call on supporters of teams across the country to urge their team not to attempt to gain control of an FITC outside of their area.
“I hope this further demonstrates Merton’s long-standing commitment to supporting football in the borough.”
PRESS CONTACT – Jason Hill