An FA probe into an alleged violent clash between feuding Gym United and Howards FC has led to a Sunday cup final being scrapped amid safety fears.
The two Plastic Trade Frames Bury & District Sunday League rivals, who had been due to meet each other on the pitch this weekend, were not even playing each other in the game where ugly scenes were said to have broken out at Bury Town FC’s Ram Meadow ground.
The Free Press reported on March 11 how a row had erupted over a ‘common-sense approach’ made by the Bury league to allow Howards to keep their place in another cup final after the league’s admin mistake on registering a player late, after receiving it in time for the deadline, had been overturned by Suffolk FA, after an appeal from defeated semi-finalists Gym United.
It saw Gym, initially formed as Abbotts Wanderers, given the green light to take their rival’s place in the Days Sportswear Division One Knockout Cup final at Ram Meadow.
A war of words followed on social media between the two clubs ahead of reported alleged violence breaking out during a county cup semi-final played at Bury Town between Howards and Tostock on Sunday, March 13.
Suffolk FA have said they are still investigating the incident, which has prompted the Bury & District Sunday League to cancel one of their showpiece finals, which would have involved Gym and Howards playing at Bury Town on Sunday.
The Bury & District Sunday League’s chairman, Stewart Chapman, said: “Following an incident involving personnel from Gym and Howards football clubs, which is currently being investigated by Suffolk FA, and following consultation with Bury Town and the sponsors, the PTF BDSFL management committee have, with regret, taken the decision that the West Suffolk Motor Factors Open Cup Final between the two clubs will not be played this season.”
Chapman said Suffolk FA’s decision to over-rule his league in the knockout cup was not to blame as ‘this is a problem caused by the clubs and no-one else. They are responsible for their behaviour.’
Neither club wished to comment on the issue, but Howards, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, put up the following message on their Facebook page: “I know club has got to both cup finals league and open cup and will not be involved in either, players and club have accepted the decision and will come back stronger next year.”