How badgers are causing thousands of pounds of damage to Hampshire football pitch

  • Coaches and staff at the community football club have been telling ITV Meridian's Chlöe Oliver how the animals could put an end to a long-standing tournament hosted in Hampshire

A community football club in Hampshire says it may have to pay out more than £40,000 and cancel a major children's tournament because of badgers.

Despite Warsash Wasps Football Club operating from their site off of Church Road for decades, the animals have only started digging up the pitch in the last six weeks.

The damage to the grass means the pitch is unplayable with mounds of dirt and holes dug by the badgers.

It has caused matches to be cancelled and poses a threat to this summer's annual tournament which hosts around 1000 children from right across Hampshire.

The competition caters to children aged 7 to 12 and attracts scouts from numerous Premier League academies.

  • Club members set up night-time CCTV to see what was causing the pitch problems and to their surprise they ended up recording badgers, as well as deer and a fox too!

The Warsash Wasps Sports and Football Club in New Road provides a space for hundreds of children to play football every week.

The club has called in experts to help who believe the badgers are digging for grubs in the pitch, so they decided to apply a repellent.

But, they worry, if this does not work, then the club will have to cancel their upcoming tournaments in June.

Volunteers have given up their time refilling the holes in the last few weeks but it’s proved to be a persistent problem.

They are concerned about how to deal with the badgers without causing harm to them.

There are concerns about badger deterrents draining valuable funds from the club.

Steve Bull, the Club Secretary told ITV News Meridian: “We’ve engaged with fox specialists as we don’t want to kill badgers, we want to discourage them from coming onto the pitch to dig the holes for the food source.

"Over the years we’ve had many charity football matches with Pompey and Saints players taking part.

"When Matt Le Tissier played here he said it was the best pitch he’s played on outside the Premier League!”

  • Marcus Kennedy is a coach and parent at Warsash Wasps FC

Marcus continues: "It started 6 weeks ago, we filled in a few holes and we’ve had to cancel a few games.

"The biggest issue is summer tournament comes in and that creates really good funds and we won’t have those tournaments financially...

"The club has been here since 1977 and the tournament itself has been running for 15 years. “

The club has launched a gofundme page to raise money towards restoring and protecting the Warsash pitch.

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