Gym United have hit back at criticism of their decision to report their rivals Howards for playing an ineligible player due to the league’s admin error, which has seen them replace their rivals in a cup final.
Following last week’s revelation in the Free Press, which had not included Gym United’s response due to the manager coming back to the paper too late, officials took to social media to publish a lengthy statement on their position on Facebook.
When contacted ahead of going to press this week, manager Matt Morton said the club did not wish to make any further comment outside of their statement and since it was posted on Sunday, both clubs had agreed to settle their differences.
The statement had claimed the Bury and District Sunday League had written to both clubs ahead of their Days Sportswear Division One Knockout Cup semi-final drawing attention to rules surrounding players being eligible for the latter stages of cup competitions.
This led to Gym asking for clarification on one of their players, Martin McConnell, before abiding by the league saying he could not play as he was one of the four required games short.
After losing the match 1-0 after extra-time for Howards’ first win in 16 attempts against them, Gym claim they were made aware that an independent third party individual had reported a breach of the rules in long-serving Howards player James Attwood playing.
They claim the league admitted it was against the rules but were unwilling to act on it, seemingly due to the fact it was later admitted to be their admin error in processing the registration after the cut-off date due to a backlog of registrations.
The Gym statement claimed they were encouraged to take the matter to Suffolk Football Association to rule over it, and that there was not an issue with the league not being at the re-arranged hearing, as they had notified Suffolk FA that they were happy for it to take place in their absence.
The holders of the First Division for five consecutive seasons, who were initially formed as Abbotts Wanderers FC back in 2001 and play their home games at Nowton Park, said they held a democratic vote to decide whether to go ahead with a complaint against Howard’s, which came out narrowly in favour of doing so.
The statement also pointed out how Howards had registered a similar complaint after losing a cup game in November 2008 which had seen them replace Bardwell Wasps.
“Many outside of the clubs concerned in this matter seem to have some blinkered opinions of the situation,” it read. “Some appear to believe that because Gym are so used to winning that they should lie down and allow rule breaches to take place.
“What is reassuring is the amount of private support we have had from many much more well informed former and current local football players.”