Football club praises ‘incredible’ support as it faces £300,000 repair bill after pitch set on fire

A football club facing a £300,000 bill after its pitch was deliberately set on fire has described the community’s support following the vandalism as “nothing short of incredible”.

Emergency services were called to Westfield Park in Denny, home to Dunipace FC, after the damage was discovered on Saturday morning.

A section of the artificial 4G pitch has been left significantly scorched by the blaze, with Police Scotland estimating the repair bill to be around £300,000.

A crowdfunder set up on behalf of the East of Scotland league side has already raised more than £13,000.

Pic: Dunipace FC

A spokesperson for the club told Sky News: “The response from the local community and wider football family has been nothing short of incredible.

“With so many local kids involved with the club, most in the area have some sort of link to the club.

“At last check our crowdfunder is already around £13,500, which has just blown us away.”

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While the club is hopeful its insurance will cover the cost of the repairs to the pitch itself, donations collected from the fundraiser will help make up for any income lost due to fixtures and events being moved away from the ground.

In the meantime other clubs across Scotland have offered their facilities to Dunipace FC to allow matches to go ahead.

The club’s league cup tie on Tuesday night against Penicuik Athletic will now take place at Linlithgow Rose’s ground in West Lothian.

Pic: Dunipace FC

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In a statement posted online, the club added: “While we know there’s a long road ahead before we get things back to the way they were, the support we’ve received from the local community, Scottish football, and the wider football family has been nothing short of overwhelming.

“The club has received messages from around the world and it has been difficult to comprehend just how far-reaching this has become; while the people of Denny and Dunipace have rallied around the club in a way that makes you proud to be from the town.”

Police Scotland said there were no reports of any injures but the fire is being treated as wilful.

A force spokesperson said: “This fire caused a significant amount of damage and will have a substantial impact on the club and surrounding community.

“We are appealing for anyone who witnessed the fire, or anyone who may have seen anyone acting suspiciously, to get in touch.”

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