The proposal is part of a review of all sports clubs by the Students’ Union Sports Office and is only in its early stages but it would have a huge impact on football at the university.
At the start of this season more than 300 students took part in trials for the football teams, meaning that around half had to be turned away. The new plans would create even more competition for a smaller number of places and current first team striker, Phil Obi, is not sure that they are a good idea.
He said: “Even with eight teams there are a lot of people that get disappointed and there are decent players that get told, ‘I’m sorry you can’t come and play football’.”
Sports Co-ordinator Susie Finnis has confirmed that the idea is being given serious consideration but insisted that it is not the result of budget cuts.
She said: “There have been discussions with the football club about cutting the teams down to four from eight but this is not to do with cuts to the sports club budget – we have received no cuts for next year’s activities but we haven’t been given an increase.”
She did concede though that rising costs are an area of concern for those in charge of sport at the university.
She said: “In the case of Wednesday afternoon competitive clubs/teams we are faced with increased costs for transport, affiliations, insurance, kits, entry fees, ref fees, facilities cost and equipment.”
Players have to organise their own transport to games before being reimbursed by the university and they have also expressed concerns over the provision of equipment. Some teams were running out of balls at one stage and the seventh team had to play one game in bibs instead of shirts.
Seventh team captain and sports science student, Roddy Beresford-Cole, said: “I don’t have enough kit for my whole team.”
There have also been issues surrounding the scheduling of lectures for Wednesday afternoon and Obi, who is a third year Business Economics student, believes the University could do more to support its sports teams.
He said: “For me for example, I finish lectures at one o’clock [on Wednesday], so for most away games I couldn’t go. Sometimes we go to places like Brighton and Portsmouth and we have barely eleven or twelve players and we get there late.
“When you talk to other players from other teams they’ve got coaches, they’ve got transport. Their university encourages sport but our university do not want us to play sport.”
The 21-year-old insists that these organisational and structural factors are hampering the teams’ performance severely and causing the lack of success on the pitch. He believes that the first team could even have won the league this season with a bit more support and is imploring those in charge to listen to the players.
He said: “We could have won the league. There was one crucial game when we couldn’t get any players out and we lost that game. Had we won that game, we could have been in with a chance of winning the league but that ruined it.
“The people that are in charge, the suits and ties, don’t ask us what we want. I’m in my final year and I’ve been playing football for three years and no-one has asked me what I thought was good or what I wanted.”
A decision has not yet been made on the proposal to reduce the number of teams and it will have to go through various boards and committees at Kingston University Students’ Union, so any changes will not come into force in time for next season.