Beds, Herts & Bucks

North and Mid Herts Football League under threat

An adult football league in Hertfordshire is under threat because of a shortage of teams to play.

John Burlison, chairman of North and Mid Herts Football League, said the league would fold unless it had a minimum of 10 teams to play.

Next season, it will only have nine teams. Ideally, league organisers would like 12.

Mr Burlison said he feared "Saturday adult football in north and mid Hertfordshire will die".

He added: "The league's committee has decided that it would not be viable to run a league with less than 10 teams for next season.

"Therefore, without the new blood we would have no option but to discontinue the league."

Higher league

The North and Mid Herts League was formed in 2006 after the amalgamation of two of the oldest leagues in Hertfordshire, the Mid Herts Football League and the North Herts Football League.

The merger was a result of the decline in men's Saturday football in Hertfordshire, which resulted in both leagues being reduced from the heyday of the 1980s, which saw 11 divisions with 120 clubs in two leagues.

Of the league's current 12 teams, two are looking to join a higher league for next season and one is disbanding, leaving only nine.

Mr Burlison believes the demise of Saturday men's football can be put down to many factors, including more people working on Saturdays, more leisure activities being available and a dearth of young footballers progressing into the adult game.

Hertfordshire Football Association chairman Gary Norman said it would be a "disgrace" if the league was allowed to fold.

"Perhaps we could be more flexible with our kick off times in the future to accommodate the ever-changing world we live in," he said.

"The Hertfordshire FA is committed to local football and we will do everything we can to ensure its growth."

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