Despite nearly being shown the red card by the council last year, Merton’s five football little leagues will continue as normal next season, it was confirmed.

Colliers Wood Little League was relaunched last weekend after Merton Council withdrew its plans earlier this year to start charging volunteers £5,000 a year to use the parks.

Council leader Stephen Alambritis, who happens to be a qualified football referee, showed his support for the little league by officiating football trials at Colliers Wood recreation ground.

Coun Alambritis said: “I was delighted to don my referee’s kit and officiate at Colliers Wood recreation ground. 

“Everyone is aware of my support for Merton’s little leagues. 

"Both parents and footballers are a credit to the spirit of the sport.

"The day was a resounding success and the voluntary effort was great to see. We finished the main match on penalties.”

When it was under threat, Colliers Wood Little League was said to be the most vulnerable of Merton’s five little leagues with the most popular in Wimbledon and Morden and more vulnerable in Mitcham and Raynes Park.

The organisers are hoping to recruit more players before the new season starts on September 15.

Interested parents can call Keith Spears, chairman of Colliers Wood Residents' Association, on 07982 721496.

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