Stamford AFC chairman Bob Feetham has labelled the FA’s decision to overturn his club’s relegation reprieve from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League a ‘disgrace.’
The Daniels finished in the final relegation spot last season but were told by the FA on May 27 they would not drop down to the Northern Premier League Division One South because Southern League Division One, South and West champions Cinderford Town AFC had rejected promotion leaving a position open in Step Three football for the next placed team. That was judged to be Stamford.
However the FA Board of Appeal have overturned the League Committee’s decision following an appeal from Evesham United, ruling they did not have the authority to accept the rejected promotion.
Feetham said: “This is absolutely devastating. To be told three weeks ago that we were reinstated into the NPL and then to have it all snatched away so long after is absolutely dreadful. For all of us involved with the club be it player, director or supporter it feels like we have been relegated all over again.
“I find it hard to believe that we have been notified only by email and there hasn’t even been a phone call, by your leave, or an apology from anyone. It is shabby and certainly not the way I would do business.
“I feel so sorry for Graham Drury [manager] he has worked immensely hard to bring together a squad which would have done us proud in the NPL. Many of those players, hopefully, will still stay with us. But to have this thrust upon him so late by such total inefficiency is a disgrace. I also note that we have no right of appeal. Some democracy.”
“However, I guess we will all now have to pull our shoulders back and get on with it. That is the way of our particular part of this world!”
Evesham appealed the decision because they were switched from the Southern League South and West to the Northern Premier League South following Cinderford Town’s decision not to take promotion, which The Robins chairman Jim Cockerton said would cause them to suffer £25,000 in increased costs due to more travelling and fewer big box office local matches.
Following a meeting by FA appeals board on Tuesday they were told today (June 15) they will remain in the Southern South and West Division.
It also means Cinderford, who lost their chairman, committee, manager John Brough and nearly all their title winning side, will be forced to accept promotion, throwing the very future of the club into doubt.
An emergency meeting is being held by Cinderford Town to discuss the next step - with talks of resignation from the league a possibility.
However the FA ruling, as pointed out by Daniels chairman Feetham, can not be appealed.
Corby Town, who were moved over from the Evo-Stik NPL Premier Division to the Southern Premier, when Stamford were given their reprieve, will switch back.