Amateur football team Dover House Road Lions claims Roehampton University will evict them
A turf war has broken out after a football team claimed a university is set to evict them from their playing grounds.
Dover House Road Lions believe they will lose their Saturday morning playing slot, when ownership of their Roehampton ground changes hands.
The grounds are owned by Wandsworth Council, but the University of Roehampton have been trying to buy the lease for seven years.
The deal is set to take place, and plan to issue a licence to independent school Putney High School permitting their sports teams to use the surface.
Putney High's lacrosse team plan to use the pitches from 8am-10am on Saturday mornings.
Dover House Lions, a community outreach organisation, have been using the pitch between 9am and 1pm since 2004.
Anita Russell, club secretary, said: "We’re going to be squeezed out by the university.
"I fear they will eventually find a way to get rid of us.
"It will be disastrous for the community because we invest in children, we give kids something to do that keeps them out of trouble."
The club, who run nine teams for boys between the ages of eight and 18, have set up an online petition called ‘Save Dover House Lions FC.’which has gathered 240 signatures.
A slot between 10am and noon has been offered in compromise but Dover House fear they will lose precious training time in the crossover period.
Natalie Murray, a spokesperson from Roehampton University, said: "The University hugely values our relationship with the community and we will ensure that community use of the site will remain at its current level.
"There are no plans to reduce or inconvenience existing users of the fields. Current community use is also protected by law.
"The team have use of the pitch between 10am and 12pm, and they will keep use of this period in future."
Roehampton University along with Putney High School, plan to invest £1.5 million into the sports fields, through building a new pavilion, improving changing rooms, and creating an artificial playing surface.
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