The Peterborough & District Football League is a competition that doesn’t allow paid players.
And yet twice in eight days recently Premier Division leaders Peterborough Sports Reserves fielded players from their club’s all-conquering United Counties Premier Division side in victories that have all but determined the destination of the title. The likes of Avelino Vieira, Mark Jones, Josh Moreman and Dan Lawlor are part of a well-remunerated first-team squad.
Sports Reserves have broken no rules as their players weren’t paid to beat title rivals Netherton United and Pinchbeck United, but they’ve acted against the spirit of the competition. They’re not the only ones either.
Maybe failing to beat Netherton in two previous outings this season was a factor, but then they managed to beat Pinchbeck with a 12-man reserve team back in August and they beat another top team in Moulton Harrox last Saturday when the high-flying first team were in action on a pitch next door at PSL.
Those latter results suggest Sports might well have won the Premier Division anyway which would have been a great effort with a pure reserve team.
Now they’ll be remembered as the team who called for help from players two divisions above (it will be three divisions next season so maybe the league will be jolted into closing a loophole) to get them over the line which is a shame.