Pitches "like car parks" with no grass on could force the start of the upcoming sports seasons back, it has been warned.

With football and rugby seasons starting in just a few weeks, there remains a question mark as to whether or not matches can kick off as planned due to the "rock hard pitches" around the county.

As the county officially enters a drought and with a warning issued about extreme heat this weekend, pitches across Suffolk are being "monitored" to make sure sports are safe to continue, with extra precautions being considered.

Bosses at the Rugby Football Union are considering whether it is safe to start the season in early September as had been intended.

Alasdair Bovaird, chairman of Eastern Counties Rugby, said: "Clubs are very much making a case-by-case decision about whether to continue with their pre-season games or not, because clearly the ground is rock hard, and player safety is the first concern.

"There are the impact injuries, and an increased risk of grass burns but also, because it is so dry, the possibility of cracks appearing.

"A lot of pitches can crack and I have seen some cracks that you could put your hand into, and clearly, it would be a bad idea to play a running game on that kind of surface."

Teams have had to cancel pre-season games, with some turning to touch rugby, in a bid to eliminate the injury risk.

Mr Bovaird continued: "Every club is having to make its own decision at the moment in terms of whether they can play.

"You wouldn't play rugby in a car park, and at the moment, the ground does feel like a car park.

"The bottom line is, if it's not safe to play, we won't."

Richard Neal, Suffolk Football Association chief executive, said: "There are no plans to delay seasons but we are monitoring the situation.

"What we might need to think about is extra drinks breaks for the players and officials involved.

"The pitches are hard at this time of year anyway, but I guess the main concern for us, is the bareness of the ground and grass and whether that means people are slipping around wearing boots.

"There is more of a risk with that because the ground is literally so bare, but we haven't been made aware of any particular safety concerns during pre-season, which is why we are watching and monitoring rather than doing anything to delay the season."