Traveler Camp stops 1,000 people playing football at Stoneham Lane Football Complex, Eastleigh

An UNAUTHORIZED camp for travelers prevented more than 1,000 people from playing football this week.

A group of travelers took up residence at Stoneham Lane Football Complex in Eastleigh on Monday – to the detriment of those who play there.

The travelers stayed for 29 hours before exiting the Eastleigh complex on Tuesday following a police operation.

CONTINUE READING: Travelers line up on Eastleigh’s pitches

A concerned parent of one player said: “This is disgusting. What are the police doing?

“This is a problem that will only grow and grow the longer it goes on.

“I am furious and will write to the local MPs right away.”

A total of 94 football teams were unable to play or train during this period.

Of the 94 teams, 56 were unable to play their games as scheduled, causing many to be postponed.

A total of 28 games could not be played from Monday to Tuesday.

The arrival of the travelers prompted the Hampshire FA, who run the football ground, to temporarily close the complex.

CONTINUE READING: Photos show “unacceptable amounts of rubbish” left by travelers

However, this did not prevent damage to the site, as the height barrier at the entrance as well as the grass field were damaged.

“Excess” rubbish was also found on the site.

The organization said the decision to shut down the site was made to “ensure the safety of users and staff and to keep the rest of the site locked down and secure to minimize further damage”.

But damage to the turf has delayed renovation work by five to seven days due to repair work required, with pitches out of use for the next five days.

The closure of the complex sparked outrage online, with one angry parent saying: “[This is] so unfair to the kids who are now being neglected.

“Selfish people.”

Other commenters said the travelers’ arrival was “not fair” and “annoying”.

The football complex reopened on Wednesday evening, May 25th.

Hampshire Constabulary has been contacted for comment.

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