Five youth teams from Southwick1882 Football Club booked spaces at the Play on the Pitch tournament at the Amex Stadium through the company Precision Pass.
Initially scheduled to play this coming Monday, the event – which costs £49 per child – draws hundreds of young footballers from all over the country.
But Southwick1882’s players were devastated to hear the tournament had been cancelled and parents were left furious to discover the pitch had not been officially booked with Brighton and Hove Albion.
Kerry Stanton, Southwick1882’s secretary, said parents were still waiting for more than £2,500 to be refunded.
“It’s absolutely appalling and we’re all absolutely gutted for the kids,” she said.
“They offered us the chance to play in Southampton, but bear in mind most of us live in Brighton and it’s a long way to go for an hour’s worth of football.
“It wouldn’t be the same – the Amex is our local football club, the kids go up to the Amex to watch Brighton and they all want to play on the same ground as all their heroes.”
Precision Pass said refunds had been delayed as a result of being ‘locked out’ of their payment processing company account.
A spokesman for the sports company said refunds were being organised as fast as possible and it would continue to do its best for its customers after a challenging year.
Precision Pass’ Play on the Pitch days let teams take team talks in the home/away dressing rooms and play in a tournament in the stadiums of their favourite clubs.
Kerry has taken other teams in the past and said when the events go ahead they are ‘amazing’. “The children we took still look back on the memories years later, which only makes this year’s disappointment even greater,” she said.
The teams affected are two under-11s, under-13s, under-14s and under-15s.
According to Brighton and Hove Albion’s website, the Amex Stadium will be in use from May 29 to May 31 for its community Soccer Schools.