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League rejects Gym’s claims of ‘cowardice’

The chairman of the Premier Logos Bury & District Sunday League has rejected Gym United’s claims that recent rule changes were driven by jealousy.

The Sunday league has lowered the limit of the number of senior players a team can field from six to four – following a majority vote among its member clubs at their AGM on June 19.

It was an outcome that prompted an outcry from Gym United chairman Matt Morton, who feels his side are ‘just a bunch of friends who want to play football together’.

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League chairman Stewart Chapman said the original proposal for the rule amendment, brought forward by a member club, was to reduce the number of senior players to just three.

A senior player is defined as a player who plays at Step 5, the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division, and above.

Chapman said: “The case for the proposal was based on the strength of the Gym United team which, out of a squad of 35 players, contained a high number of senior players.

“It was argued that Gym, who had regularly won the Division One title and various league cups, were so strong that other clubs could not compete which meant that clubs did not wish to play in our Division One.

“A number of matches against Gym United had been conceded by their opposition rather than be played as a result of clubs not wishing to be embarrassed by a large goal margin.

“The reduction from six to three was a means of making a more level playing field.

“The matter was fully debated and resulted in the proposal being amended to reduce senior players from six to four.

“This was carried by the majority of the clubs and is now a rule for the forthcoming season.

“There is no doubt that Gym United are a very good outfit, well run and managed by Mr Morton.

“The success they had last season in reaching the final of the National Sunday League Cup is commendable and the result of a considerable effort by the club, which I applaud.

“I do not support the charge of cowardice levied at the clubs, more of trying to make Division One as competitive as our other divisions, and the rule change may go some way to achieving that – but without harming Gym’s efforts should they enter the National and Suffolk FA cups.

“We are still maintaining our numbers and, whilst we lose teams, we gain others.

“As a league management team, it is important that we represent the interests of all our clubs, it is their league. I note Gym’s intention of considering withdrawal from the league and appeals to the FA, which is their right.

“Should they leave, they will do so with our best wishes and hope that they find the appropriate level of league for their excellent squad.”

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