A decision by the Alice Springs Town Council to withdraw all support for this year’s remote football competition has been labelled a “backwards step” by the Central Land Council.

Alice Springs Town councillor Michael Liddle brought forward the motion in a meeting on Monday, citing concerns about crime rates and social issues in the town.

The decision is a major blow for the competition which sees teams from remote communities around Central Australia travel to Alice Springs for games each week.

It means players and spectators will not be allowed access to any council-owned sporting fields in the town.

Central Land Council chief executive Les Turner says the decision is disappointing.

“It is a backward step for the council to ban the teams, players and supporters from our remote communities from the best fields in Central Australia, where they have played for many years,” he said.

Footy helps create positive social outcomes and unites our town at a time when we all need to pull together.

The Alice Springs town council is understandably concerned about bad behaviour at games and resulting social issues.

AFL football is one of the few joys for our community members. It is a pathway to a healthy life and future opportunities,” said Mr Turner.

“Our kids should not be locked out of Alice Springs.”