EvoStik Southern League Central Side Needham Market have been forced to withdraw from the Buildbase FA Trophy earlier today.
They have released the following statement, “With apologies to all our supporters we regret to record that we have been forced to withdraw from the FA Trophy.
The correspondence below details our proposals for rearranging the fixture but unfortunately our request was summarily dismissed as it ” contravenes Rule 11 (c) (1)”.
Further to a hastily convened committee meeting on today’s date we wish to record our clubs position with regard to the rearrangement of our FA Trophy fixture against Weymouth FC.
We consider that it is completely unreasonable to attempt to play this fixture on Tuesday 18th December.
Our players and staff had to take a half day’s leave from their employment on Friday 14th December to travel down to Weymouth. For us to request that our players and staff take a further one and a half or two days leave on Tuesday and Wednesday (18th /19th December) in the week preceding Xmas is considered unfair on them and their employers.
Having experienced the travelling time on Friday / Saturday (14th / 15th) which resulted in a journey slightly in excess of seven hours each way, it would be necessary to leave Needham Market at 11.00 am on Tuesday 18th and arrive back at the club at approximately 05.30 am on the morning of Wednesday 19th. Factor in that a number of our players reside in north Norfolk, this would result in additional travelling in excess of one hour for those players, which makes it apparent that two days holiday would be required for them.
In addition, and after looking at the weather forecast for the South coast area, it is extremely likely that the match will, once again, be postponed.
In view of the above we therefore request that the match is played on Saturday 22nd or 29th December. Should the 29th be preferable to Weymouth, and in view of the fact that date for subsequent matches in this tournament is mid-January we offer to play the match to conclusion (extra time & penalties) should it be necessary. This offer will not apply should the fixture be rearranged for the 22nd.
We consider that this decision fails to take account of the practical problems that would be incurred and, in addition, fails to display even a basic level of common sense. If rules are to be applied in such an unconsidered manner then the FA Panel should be replaced by a computer !
Co-operation from Weymouth which has sadly been lacking plus making the necessary arrangements with the Evostick League would have enabled the fixture to proceed as per our proposals but unfortunately self interest has prevailed.
Apologies, once again and thank you in anticipation of your ongoing support.”