Angus leisure chiefs have faced a backlash over changes to a monthly membership scheme which has left five-a-side footballers showing them the red card.
The Angus Alive trust which runs local authority sports and culture facilities across the district has dropped 5-a-side, 7-a-side and basketball from its bACTIVE membership in a move which some keen footie players say could cost them around £80 a month.
Trust officials say the move will bring Angus into line with other arms-length leisure and culture bodies in many Scottish council areas, improve efficiency and develop greater opportunity.
The controversial change has been delayed two weeks until the end of this month, but is understood to have already triggered a number of membership cancellations and led to accusations that the footballers and basketball players are being “ostracised”.
Cara Longmuir, who lives near Arbroath has ditched the joint membership she currently has with her dad in protest over the change which she said would still allow racquet sports access to the same halls.
She was also angry that notification of the change came out of the blue in a letter just a fortnight before it was originally due to come into force.
“I currently pay £56 for a joint membership for me to use the pool and for my dad to play football three times a week,” she said.
“I think it is appalling that Angus Alive are not offering an alternative payment option to still include pitch use. Instead they are just taking it away altogether.
“My dad will now be £18 out of pocket as a result. It’s not masses of money, but it’s £18 he didn’t expect to pay as his daughter has his gym membership covered — or so he thought.
“This move completely ostracises footballers and basketball players, yet remains an open environment for badminton and soft tennis players,” said Cara.
“It should be one rule for all.”
The change has led to suggestions on social media that the trust could be facing a mass exodus of members angry at the increased charges they may face.
One user said they feared excellent facilities would be under-used and wasted.