League responds to criticism

Fri 19th April 2013 | General
By Ian Templeman

A recent article in the Liverpool Echo concerning the decision of the Management Committee to place Formby FC in a relegation position is factually incorrect.

Firstly, I have not stated that they would be relegated. Can I make it quite clear that as per National League System Directive, they are placed in a relegation position.

This means that they will be placed at the bottom of the League Table, irrespective of their final League position. As there is no relegation this season from our First Division, due to the complement of clubs not reaching a minimum of 20, relegation does not apply, unless The Football Association deem otherwise.

Secondly, the Club were not given the impression or informed that they had passed the grading criteria. They were told that certain items did not comply fully as required by FA Grading Criteria, to which they agreed, and that further advice concerning the boundary of the ground would have to be sought.

There was no indication given by the Grading Committee Members that the ground had passed the inspection.

Ground grading visits provided by the League are purely advisory to clubs to help them achieve the relevant grading category required by The Football Association. In providing grading recommendations and guidance reports, the League and its Officers accept no responsibility whatsoever for the safety of a club's ground/stadium and for any people who visit.

Any information provided in no way purports to be a comprehensive list of Health and Safety issues, which it is the responsibility of the club to address. Clubs are recommended to arrange regular safety audits conducted by the relevant authorities (if required) or persons with appropriate expertise and / or qualifications.

The Management Committee decided that the Club did not meet the required standard for promotion which is grade G, and as this is also the standard required for the First Division, the Management Committee had no option but to apply the relevant FA Directive.

The Club were advised on the night of the Management Committee meeting of the decision and later informed that they have the right of appeal to The Football Association.

It should also be noted that the grading inspection on 23rd February 2013 clearly pointed out that the Club had 28 days to action the items mentioned, and that they had 7 days in which to acknowledge receipt of the grading report along with the proposed action and timescale that the items would be completed. The Club had until the 31st March 2013 to complete all outstanding work in order to qualify for promotion.

Unfortunately neither was complied with.

It should further be noted that the Club was relegated from the Premier Division in 2011 due to a serious breach of League Rules concerning the change of ownership, which as far as the League Rules are concerned made them an illegal entity. The League Management Committee supported the Club in order for them to retain their Membership of the League.

It should also be stated that the Club had a number of planning restrictions placed by Sefton Council due to a blatant breach of planning permission. Again the League Management Committee fully supported the Club, and representatives of the Management Committee attended a meeting with the Chief Executive of Sefton Council to support the Club.

It is disappointing that the Club has allowed their ground to deteriorate over the years and has not considered the implications.

John Deal, Secretary, North West Counties Football League


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