Doubt over future of Cribbs Causeway Friends Life football club, previously featured on Soccer AM
DOUBT has been cast over the future of one of Bristol's best loved amateur football clubs.
Cribbs Friends Life Football Club was founded almost 40 years ago and has a reputation for having some of the best facilities and pitches in the South West.
The team was originally associated and backed by the Royal Sun Life Assurance firm and then by Axa Life.
As reported in The Post Axa Life was then taken over by Resolution and became part of Friends Life.
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As a result of the changing ownership the club changed its name.
It has now emerged Friends Life will no longer support the club and talks are taking place over its future.
A number of options are being explored including setting up a not-for-profit organisation to run the operation which includes the teams and the social club.
A spokesman for the insurance and pensions firm said: "Friends Life has confirmed it will cease to manage the sports and social club at Cribbs Causeway from summer 2013. We are in the early stages of working with those involved in running the facility to investigate the viability of setting up a not-for-profit organisation which would take over the management of the club going forward.
"If this option is viable the sports teams will continue to use the facility in the same way they currently do. Existing events bookings for 2013 will continue as planned."
No one was available for comment at the club, which has hundreds of members.
Facilities include four top quality football pitches and an artificial turf training pitch. The club has a reputation for having the best facilities on the amateur scene.
The England Under 21 side, then managed by Peter Taylor, trained at the ground in 1997 and played a Cribbs FL FC (then AXA) side prior to their game with Italy.
There have also been two games televised on Sky Sports Soccer AM programme between Cribbs Friends Life and celebrity teams.
In recent times Everton, Hull City, Bristol Rovers and City have all used the pitches for training.
Originally founded in London 50 years ago, the team moved to Bristol when the city became the headquarters of Royal sun Life Assurance.
The Cribbs Causeway Ground - now Friends Life Sports Ground - was opened in 1978.
The club adopted the name of AXA Sun Life FC at the end of the nineties following the merger of AXA Equity & Law and Sun Life Assurance Society, and became AXA FC in 2002.
At the end of the 2010-2011 season, following the acquisition and merger of AXA Sun Life & Friends Provident, the name was changed to the Cribbs Friends Life Football Club.