A SCHOOLBOYS football team which was axed has been given permission to compete until the end of the season.

The Star reported in January as schoolboys were left "devastated" after the Knowsley & St Helens team, which has played under the same banner this season after a merger, was axed.

Players and coaches were left dismayed as they were told that the English Schools FA did not recognise Knowsley and St Helens as an "affiliated county".

The team had at the time been due to face a last 16 tie in the National Cup after enjoying a run in the competition.

The axing of the team led to an outcry from parents and local politicians, with the leaders of St Helens and Knowsley Councils calling for a reversal of the decision.

The ESFA has decided to allow the Knowsley and St Helens team to "temporarily merge" until the end of the season, the Star has been told.

The team will play under the name 'Knowsley St Helens' for the rest of the season, although will not be able to compete in the National Cup.

In a statement, chief executive of ESFA Andrea Chilton said: "Agreement has been reached between the English Schools’ Football Association (ESFA) and Knowsley Schools’ FA and St Helens Schools’ FA for the secondary schools in Knowsley and St Helens on Merseyside to temporarily merge and be allowed to compete in local secondary school age competitions for the remainder of this football season.

"Knowsley St Helens (as the new district will be called) can now continue to compete locally until the end of the season and the ESFA has agreed to review the position in line with the new rules and regulations approved by its AGM in November, ahead of the new season beginning in September 2019."