“Disgusting” changing rooms with smashed windows, rats and piles of rubbish means more than 300 football players are forced to change on the side of the pitch come rain or shine every week.
One Thornton Heath Rangers player said the terrible condition of the facilities at Purley Way Playing Fields has pushed the team to move its home games to Norman Park in Bromley.
The team plays in the Croydon Municipal League.
Elliot Munroop, who plays for the team, said: “We were playing at Purley Way last season but we moved our home ground to Bromley.
“One of the main reasons we moved is that they provided heated changing rooms.
“The changing rooms were never open before, when it was raining you’re getting dressed on the grass with your socks getting soaking wet.”
However, Croydon Council said there are alternative changing facilities by The Colonnades retail park.
The authority said it is in the “early stages” of consultation about what should happen to the derelict changing rooms, which have not been used for a decade.
Elliot said every Sunday 30 to 35 teams play at Purley Way and he was shocked at the state of the changing rooms when the team played there at the weekend.
The footballer said: “When we were there on Sunday I noticed they were open.
“It stank of weed and there big rats in there. It is completely out of the question for anyone to change in there. It is horrible.”
He added that the club would much rather play at the local ground rather than trekking over to Bromley on Sunday mornings.
“It is the local ground, everyone would rather use it but the changing rooms are disgusting,” said Elliot, “For a ground that’s hosting all the Croydon Sunday league team matches the council must have a duty of care to all the kids and young players.”
Back in May a pavilion, which included changing rooms, at the playing fields was burnt to the ground.
A spokesperson for Croydon Council said: “These facilities are not in use – Football Leagues at Purley Way playing fields pay a contribution towards the running and upkeep of facilities located by The Colonnades at the north of the park.
“The open facilities are well used and cater to current demand at the fields.
“The council is in the early stages of considering future use of two older pavilions for residents and visitors in the park.
“These buildings are not publicly accessible, and facilities officers have been instructed to re-secure any entry points as a priority.”