Outraged parents have been banned from watching their children play after-school sports – because it puts too much PRESSURE on them.
Coventry Sports Foundation, which runs dozens of after-school clubs across the city, wants to create a ”relaxing environment” for youngsters to play competitive sports.
The charitable trust also cites ”child protection issues” and says children will get greater enjoyment from sports ”without pressure from the sidelines”.
Furious Neil Carter, 47, branded the decision ”ridiculous” after he was booted out of the changing rooms minutes before his five-year-old son Joshua was due to play football at Finham Primary School.
The dad-of-three said: ”I had hoped to watch Joshua for the first ten minutes because he hadn’t been to an after-school club before.
”He can be quite shy so I wanted to stay with him to make sure he got on alright.
”We got him dressed and I was about to leave the room when someone from the Coventry Sports Foundation said we couldn’t watch.
”They said it was to do with the foundation’s child protection policy. I was so disappointed. It’s an absolutely ridiculous rule.”
Coventry Sports Foundation is understood to have introduced the ban at 95 after-school clubs in 43 primary schools last month.
The company runs football, netball, badminton, tennis, basketball, volleyball and cricket classes and matches for kids aged between five and 11.
Swimming classes and environmental projects are also organised by the group.
Proud parents had often turned up to cheer their kids on in big matches and to watch their development at sports.
Mum Abi Wood, 32, who is banned from watching seven-year-old daughter Jessica play football at Finham Primary, said: ”I was flabbergasted when I heard about this.
”I pay for my girl to take part in the clubs so I should be able to watch her.
”The people who run the after-school clubs will go to any length to stop us seeing our own kids.
”A few of the other parents have even told me that they heard bouncers might stand watch at the school gates.”
After-school clubs have become increasing popular among parents who cannot collect their children at 3.30pm or for those who want their kids to socialise more.
It is understood that Coventry Sports Foundation, a limited company and charitable trust, has contracts with schools to run the clubs.
In 2008 a number of junior football league matches were abandoned after irate parents became abusive.
A Coventry Sports Foundation spokesman said: ”While safeguarding the children taking part in these sessions is of paramount importance, this is only a small part of the reason for adopting this policy.
”These sessions aim to provide a relaxing environment for youngsters to enjoy a range of different activities from an early age.
”In our experience this is much easier to achieve with one-to-one coaching and without pressure from the sidelines.
”Our staff work hard to provide enjoyable courses in a welcoming environment and the overall feedback we have received from parents and children has been overwhelmingly positive.”