CLUB sponsors have been forced to intervene in a row between Oxford City Stars and Oxford City Council over ‘obscene’ parking charges forced on ice hockey fans.

Last week, the ice hockey team blasted the council’s refusal to budge on lowering prices at Oxpens car park for Sunday night matches from £12 to £3, prompting an uproar from fans.

Following the backlash, club sponsor Class Act Teaching Services who are based at Abingdon has now taken the extraordinary step of pledging to pay for every child ticket for this Sunday’s game versus Invicta Dynamos at Oxford Ice Rink.

Oxford City Stars Director Russell Shrives welcomed the announcement and said he was ‘grateful’ for the offer.

He said: “This is an incredible gesture by one of the club’s sponsor, we believe children become inspired by sport, not just to excel but also to take part at any level.

“We are so grateful and we hope this will provide some families who usually don’t attend because of the parking fees, to bring the family.

“For Class Act to offer to pay for every child, that’s an amazing opportunity and a boost to the club and the community we wish to represent and build.”

Director of Class Act Teaching Services Mark Oliver said “Sport is an important part of a child’s education, whether it’s as a player or spectator.

“The benefits of playing and watching sports are well documented and we believe Children should be allowed to experience a variety of sports, but with costs to attend games at the current level many will not be able to do so.

“We really hope families take up this free opportunity to experience this great game and cheer on Oxford’s own Ice Hockey team at their and Oxfordshire’s ice arena.”

The club has played at Oxford Ice Rink for 31 years and car parking is restricted in the area.

Around 80 spaces are available for £5 each at the City of Oxford College car park across the road but once these are full – with some used by players – the nearest car park for fans to use is Oxpens which costs £12 to park for the duration of a game.

Club managers said last week that discussions between the council about a discount for fans parking at Oxpens were ongoing and a deal was yet to materialise.

Oxford City Council declined to comment on the latest development.

Previously board member for leisure, parks and sport at the council Linda Smith said that although the council is working with the club ‘there is a limit to the steps that we can reasonably take’ and added that discussions were ongoing.