Sutton Tories vote against involving local clubs in Chelsea initiative

Sutton Conservative councillors have voted against involving the borough’s two local football clubs – Sutton United and Carshalton Athletic – in a new football initiative with European champions Chelsea.

The council had proposed an exciting partnership with the premiership club’s charitable arm, the Chelsea Football Club Foundation, to  promote healthy eating and tackle school absenteeism.

Introducing the plan at last nights’ Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, council officer Ian Kershaw clearly said that negotiations were now at the stage to involve the borough’s two non-league sides.

Councillor Graham Tope proposed that this was enshrined in the recommendations, and his Lib Dem colleagues agreed.

But the two Tory opposition councillors, Tony Shields and Eric Allen, voted against this despite previously appearing to speak in favour of involving Sutton United and Carshalton Athletic.

Quite bizarre.

Luckily, there was a majority of Lib Dem councillors and the plan was agreed. We look forward to both local clubs getting involved.

Cllr Shields suggested that the initiative was an “admission that we’ve failed” to tackle reading, absenteeism and healthy eating. I responded saying nothing was further from the truth; the council has worked hard on all these issues but the Chelsea brand – and the general popularity of premiership football – will help reach even more young people.

We can never do enough and this initiative will help us go further.

I suspect the Tories opposition to this has more to do with their dogmatic hatred of the Life Centre – where the project would be based – than concern about helping our more economically deprived youth. Shameful.