Whittlesey Athletic have pulled out of the United Counties League with immediate effect today (September 21).
Whittlesey won promotion to Division One of the UCL for the first time in the club’s history by finishing second in the Peterborough Premier Division last season.
But the promised funding to bring the club’s Feldale Field base up to UCL standard has failed to materialise. Floodlights were supposed to have been installed by September 30.
Manager Andy Lodge quit after hearing the news over the weekend and the club have decided to withdraw from the UCL now and take a sizeable fine rather than try and limp along for the rest of the campaign. That fine is believed to be £750.
The club issued a statement from chairman Wayne Gale. It read:
“This morning the First Team have been withdrawn from the UCL with immediate effect.
“Over the weekend, we had our funding to complete the ground improvements at Feldale withdrawn. Therefore, we will be unable to comply with UCL regulations as at 30th September. After many discussions with the UCL and the FA, the decision was taken to withdraw the first team and incur the fines for this action. The further fines and costs to remain in the league would have not been sustainable.
“We have had assurances from the FA that this will not affect the remaining four adult teams and our youth team. All will continue to compete in their current divisions and cups this season.
“This is a huge disappointment to everyone at the club and the local community, however the priority of the club has always been to provide footballing opportunities, whatever the level, to Whittlesey and the surrounding villages. This decision has been taken to safeguard the future of the club and this priority.”
Whittlesey had made a decent start to life at a higher level winning three and losing four of their first 10 games to sit 12th in the Division One table. They won one game against Burton Park Wanderers 15-0.
Whittlesey also run four teams in the Peterborough League and an under 18 team in the Peterborough & District Youth League.