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Youth football club Rap-Aid calls for answers as teams 'kicked out' of league
An Edmonton-based football club dedicated to banishing postcode rivalry has been 'kicked out' of its league.
More than 300 young people in ten teams play for Rap-Aid Youth Football Club in Pymmes Park, which was set up three years ago to bring youths together from across Enfield and Haringey.
The team has competed as part of the Cheshunt Youth League since 2009, but it has been told that it is not welcome in the league this season.
Club secretary Tim Aleshe is looking for answers, and believes it will be a huge blow to the young people when they find out.
He does not know how to tell the children, who are due to play their first game next Sunday.
He said: “We just want to know the reason behind it - we haven't been told what we have done wrong, so we don't know what we can do.
"We don't know how to deal with this sort of thing, I didn't get on the phone and speak to anyone but I emailed someone asking what we have done and I got no response."
He said the club is crucial as Edmonton has a prolific gang culture and football is a way to reduce barriers between different people.
He added: "We try to do football to get the kids out of the street and find an exit to better things in life.”
“Football is a way of bringing young people together, it is not just football. If you look to what is happening in Haringey and Enfield, we are mentors for young people."
However, he is unsure what the future holds for the children if they cannot be part of the league.
Although the young people could continue training, he said there is little point if they cannot compete in matches.
Mark Prince, whose 15-year-old son Kiyan was fatally stabbed outside his Edgware school in 2006, is also calling for the league to reinstate the club.
Mr Prince, who set up the Kiyan Prince Foundation in 2007 in a bid to combat knife crime and youth violence, believes football is a way to prevent young people from becoming affiliated with gang violence.
His son was a talented footballer and played for Queens Park Rangers youth football team.
Mr Prince said: “Football teaches young people to show respect. It is also an icebreaker – when they go to school they all talk about their games, now what will happen?”
Mr Aleshe added: “It feels like all my hard work is being pulled down. Why did I spend four years building up the club for one person to unilaterally make the decision?
"We need to be strong for the members of the community.”
The Enfield Independent is waiting for a comment from Cheshunt Youth League.