A LOCAL football team could lose £10,000 unless East Ayrshire Council acts fast to tie down a contractor to carry out the much-needed drainage work to their pitches.

Jamie McDonald, club secretary at Drongan United has been trying to get the council to act for years, having secured a grant for carrying out the work. He says the money is at risk of going down the pan as the deadline to use it approaches.

Jamie said: “This has been going on for five years now. The ground is saturated and it’s the same every year. This is not going to cost the council anything.

“They told us if you raise your own money you can do what you want with the grounds. We were asked to raise £10,000 and we’ve done that, but now the council is refusing to let us do the work.”

The council has cited coronavirus as a factor in the delay, but Jamie secured the grant money from the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund in 2018. The deadline to use the funds is next year.

A council spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 shutdown, there has been a delay to the works being carried out on the pitch. However, we do now have a revised plan of works and will be making contact with Drongan Utd next week to arrange a meeting to discuss and finalise the details.

“We can only apologise for the delay in starting the works which was outwith our control, and we will ensure that the funding is used before the expiry date advised by the funders.”

Jamie, however, is not so confident, saying: “They told me the exact same thing a year ago. I understand it’s a crazy time for everybody, but they’re just using coronavirus as an excuse.

The council also cited a delayed response on behalf of the contractor. Jamie asked why they didn’t look at other contractors.

He added: “This is for the whole community. I’m doing it for the village and they’re just ignoring us, they’ve told us a load of rubbish from the beginning.”