EvoStik Premier Division East Side Frickley Athletic have today announced that they will not compete in this year’s Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup Final against North Gawber.
A full statement from the club says, “Frickley Athletic has a proud history in the Sheffield & Hallamshire Senior Cup and it is a competition we are proud to compete in. In fact, we are joint record winners of the competition.
However, for several seasons the final has (despite continued complaints from clubs including ourselves) been arranged for well after the end of the season with this year’s final continuing that trend, being dated for May the 23rd – twenty-six days after our last league game.
Blues fans will remember that we reached the semi-final in the 2017/18 season and lost in the semi-final that was played remarkably after our playoff defeat to Stamford.
The club sought (and were given verbal assurances) at the end of last season that the competition’s final date would be normalised to mirror every single other County FA and be played by the end of the first week of May, at the very latest. This, despite earlier rounds being completed in plenty of time, has not happened.
Despite meetings, emails and conversations arguing our point for why the final date is wholly inappropriate and damaging for our football club none of these have been taken on board by the County FA Cups Committee who are insistent that despite additional concern detailed to them from governing bodies including our league, its decision remains.
The club has now been put in a situation where it has no choice (but now also a responsibility) to resign from the reminder of this year’s competition and therefore will not be participating in the final.
The club board wants to reassure our supporters that this decision has not been taken likely. Instead, during the process it has become apparent that a club needs to stand up for the good of all clubs in our area and through its sacrifice of missing out on a chance of a trophy hopefully force a sensible change to the competition moving forward.
We also want to make our feelings known to North Gawber Colliery who are of course also losing out on the opportunity to play in the final. We are extremely sorry for your club as well that situation has unfolded as it has.
Finally, to our supporters; our town of South Elmsall has a long history of standing up for itself and not being afraid to be resolute on the matters of sensibility and principles – those values remain at our club.
Will we get fined? Probably.