FOOTBALL teams have been warned they face being shown the red card from their playing venue if they don’t tackle an ongoing litter problem.

The community group Friends of Diglis Fields has been collecting rubbish on the three pitches off Diglis Lane, Worcester, since it formed in November.

Now its members are calling for action to be taken against any teams found littering.

The fields are regularly used by clubs from the Worcester and District Football League, but the league’s honorary secretary Tim Phillips says no problems have been reported to officials.

Mr Phillips said: “If there is a problem they need to draw it to our attention. Any complaints received about footballers will be taken very seriously.”

He added teams playing on the Worcester City Council-owned pitches – which include Blackpole Sports, Hangover FC, Pig and Drum FC, Trinity Sports FC and Worcester Rileys FC – are instructed to clean up after themselves or the facilities will be withdrawn.

Jane Brack, acting chairman of the fields’ friends group, says the problem has been going on for years and wants it to be dealt with by way of on-the-spot fines.

“We love having people using the fields, it’s absolutely great, but they have got to clean up after themselves,” she said.

She said that as well as staging litter picks the group has had extra bins placed on the fields and carried out general maintenance work, with plans to install benches and outdoor fitness equipment in the future.

“It needs a bit of TLC, especially the playing fields, to make sure it’s more pleasant for people to use.”

Councillor Roger Knight, who is responsible for cleaner and greener at the city council, said failure to remove all litter from the site and dispose of it responsibly could result in the termination and future exclusion from the council’s football team pitch hire agreement.

The council will be writing to all clubs who use the pitches and warns that it has the power to deal with the issue via fixed penalty notices.

It says the ultimate responsibility rests with the managers of the football teams.

Coun Knight said: “I just hope we are not slipping back into a period of apathy and see people throwing litter down everywhere.