Torrential rain has forced amateur league football matches to be called off this weekend as council pitches have been declared unplayable.

Sunderland City Council staff have been inspecting ground conditions at playing fields across the city but do not expect pitches to dry out in time for games. Unsettled weather conditions are also forecast for this weekend.

Councillor Mel Speding, the City Council’s Cabinet Secretary, is a divisional representative with the Durham County Football Association Limited and Chairs the County Youth Committee.

He said: “We all know we’ve seen a lot of rain in the last week, and even this year. We continue to work hard at maintaining and improving drainage of pitches in difficult financial circumstances.

“However, playing on many of the pitches this weekend isn’t going to improve their condition. We’re advising now that surfaces are simply just not playable. Surfaces and grounds that might be just passble now are likely to deteriorate if they are played on. City Council staff are advising all league officials.”