‘It’s just a game’ – 3G pitch kept on council’s programme despite motion to dismiss it

The SIC will keep a new Lerwick 3G pitch on its asset investment plan, despite moves to dismiss it.

Shetland Islands Council has been asked to provide £490,000 towards the synthetic pitch, with the rest of the £1.2m cost coming from external grants.

Councillor Davie Sandison said the SIC had “substantial” funding available from the Scottish Football Association and sportscotland for the project.

And he added there was “no doubt” in his mind that the surface, which would replace the current Clickimin rugby pitch, would have huge benefits for Shetland’s football and rugby players.

John Fraser agreed, saying Shetland was the last of the 32 Scottish local authorities without a pitch of this standard.

But questions were asked about whether there was already an over-provision of football pitches in the isles.

Councillor Moraig Lyall also asked why Shetland’s football clubs had not contributed to the cost, with Shetland Rugby pledging £10,000.

North Isles councillor Robert Thomson, who said he was a former football referee, said the SIC should not take the project any further.

“There’s two other synthetic pitches in Whalsay and Brae,” he said.

“We have a responsibility to Shetland to look after the money we’re entrusted with.

“I’m very fearful that this number [£490k] is going to go well over that, closer to £1 million. I think it’s a really, really big risk.”

Mr Thomson added: “It’s not an urgent thing, people aren’t going to die. It’s just a game.”

But he could not find a seconder for his amendment to reject the motion, so the 3G pitch will remain on the asset investment plan.

The SIC will still need to decide where the £490k funding for the project will come from at a later date.


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