Proactive football clubs have been working together to beat the severe weather and get games on.
Paul Graham, honorary secretary of the Chester and District Football League, has taken heart from the efforts clubs are prepared to go to prevent the bulging fixture backlog worsening.
“I can not give all our clubs enough credit regarding their passion to play football,” he said.
Constant rain has left almost every grass pitch saturated, leaving most sides without a match for weeks on end.
Desperate for a game, clubs have been sharing the cost of using the state-of-the-art artificial pitches at Vauxhall Motors FC and UCEA Academy.
Graham said: “It is a credit to our clubs that they are taking on the extra burden of cost for 3G and 4G surfaces, which can vary in price from £70 to £100 per game.”
Clubs hiring council-owned pitches book them for the season, meaning switching games represents an additional cost.
Graham uses Premier Division side Whitby Athletic as an example, explaining the club has paid £70 to use the 3G pitch at Vauxhall Motors despite being billed £35 for the club’s regular Netherpool Road pitch.
“This means that they are paying twice for one game of football,” said Graham.
“If they want to play then they have to pay the extra and if they don't pay the extra then they are left with an unrealistic schedule for the final weeks of the season.
“It is a no-win situation.”
Graham admits he is worried for the future of grassroots football, especially as some forecasters are predicting winters will continue to get wetter.
He believes a lack of investment in facilities over the past few years has compounded the situation, with many pitches in need of improved drainage.
“Local leagues have now suffered two consecutive years where weather has had a massive impact on our clubs, with many teams being inactive for seven weeks at a time,” he said.
“Most of our pitches have not seen investment for drainage for 30 years plus.”
“Our clubs deserve more. This weather pattern may become the norm and as such we need to be looking at how this will impact the grassroots game in the future.
“Unless investment is made on drainage on our parks and pitches and more funding is offered to create new artificial surfaces, grassroots football will become a thing of the past.”
Graham accepts the issue is not confined to Chester, with clubs in towns and cities across the UK facing similar problems.
He believes councils, the Football Association and organisations like Sport England need to work together to tackle the issues.
Should help not be forthcoming, Graham fears some clubs will decide enough and pack up.
He said: “Local authorities, the FA and all sporting bodies must be proactive in this issue and not reactive.
“After last seasons deluge, our league was left with a frightening fact that we had to play a third of our whole seasons fixtures in the last four weeks of the season.
“We watched powerlessly as clubs simply could not keep up with their schedule and disbanded as a result, not to return the following season.
“There is a dire need for our clubs and players to see investment in the future otherwise they will simply walk away.”