HUNDREDS of young footballers face being sidelined due to a lack of suitable training facilities.

A number of teams in East Renfrewshire have raised concerns about not being able to embrace the beautiful game now autumn has arrived and the nights are getting dark earlier.

Among them is Busby AFC, which has been told it can’t use its regular pitch at Williamwood High School, in Clarkston, due to coronavirus restrictions.

The club, which caters for children as young as four and also has adult teams, has been able to book some sessions at Huntly Playing Fields, in Giffnock, but is “desperate” for a pitch with floodlights that can be booked in the months ahead.

Joe Noon, club secretary at Busby AFC, said it will be hugely frustrating if young players have to miss out on football again, having been sidelined for months during the coronavirus lockdown.

“Without access to the Williamwood High School astro-pitch, the club faces no training sessions,” added Mr Noon. “That means 200-plus players and 70-plus coaches back out of the game they have missed so much.”

Other local clubs, such as Neilston FC Youth, have also expressed concerns about the difficulties being faced when it comes to finding facilities for training sessions.

However, East Renfrewshire Council said safety must be its priority when it comes to sporting activities in the area.

A spokesperson added: “School buildings have rigorous Covid-19 measures in place to keep pupils and staff safe.

"This includes enhanced cleaning, controlled entry to buildings, Test and Protect procedures and risk assessments. Due to this, lets at the Williamwood High School pitch are currently suspended, as users wouldn’t have access to toilet facilities. However, we are working with colleagues across the council to try to find a suitable solution.”