Town appeal over league decision
THE Herts Senior County League has stripped Buntingford Town of their league title after claims they fielded an ineligible player. The club s celebrations were cut short after a league investigation found the registration of a Buntingford player, believe
THE Herts Senior County League has stripped Buntingford Town of their league title after claims they fielded an ineligible player.
The club's celebrations were cut short after a league investigation found the registration of a Buntingford player, believed to be Craig Hammond, to be invalid.
Twenty-year-old Hammond, who is a Mildenhall player, featured in Town's league games against Sandridge Rovers and Met Police Bushey, against whom he scored five goals.
He also played in a floodlit cup match against Hatfield Town.
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Buntingford chairman Richard Daly said the club would be fighting the decision, and confirmed an appeal had been made.
He added: "This is obviously a big disappointment.
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"The club has carried out a number of investigations, and this is a decision we are appealing against."
The club's website states that investigations have concluded that no member of the club acted in an improper way and that the club did not knowingly field an ineligible player.
In a statement the Herts Senior County League said: "Following the receipt of a protest from a member club, the registration status of a Buntingford Town FC player was checked, and in accordance with FA rules concerning contract players, was held to be invalid."
The statement continued: "Accordingly, the player was ineligible to play in three games in which he appeared, and following league practice, the matches have been awarded to the opponents in each case and any points won deducted and awarded to their opponents."
Sandridge Rovers FC chairman Nigel Rump said his club was unaware of the player's ineligibility until the league committee announced the decision two weeks ago.
Mr Rump said: "I am very surprised. As a club we did not make any complaint and had no idea.
"Things like this happen and teams do make these sorts of mistakes.
"All I know is that the player in question was under contract at Mildenhall FC and scored five in one of the games.
"He was a good player and caused us a few problems, but as I said at the time, we had no idea.
"To be honest I feel sorry for Buntingford, and if the decision remains how it is, it's a real shame because they deserved the title as they were the best team in the league."
As a result of the decision, Sandridge moved from fifth to fourth in the table, and left runners-up Whitewebbs FC as the league winners.
A hearing with the Herts Senior County League committee will take place on Wednesday.
Mr Daly said: "We are hopeful that the decision will be overturned.