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Archived News from February 2009

14th February 2009 10:56

updated version of statement. Also send your views directly to the FA and Conference - how to do it below.

Statement below.

Media coverage: Non-League Paper, 8Feb09 , BBC Non-League Show, 9Feb09 , Setanta Sports News (video to follow), Oxford Mail, Mansfield CHAD, Nottingham Evening Post, The Argus (Sussex), 6Feb09, Bognor Regis Observer, BBC Radio Oxford audio


04 Feb 2009 (updated 06 Feb 2009)

Following the joint statement by the supporters trusts of Oxford, Mansfield and Crawley ("You don't know what you're doing", 18 Jan 2009), and national publicity for the statement on the BBC Non League Show (19 Jan 2009) amongst other places, plus local coverage, the Football Conference announced it is conducting an Internal Review of its procedures, which is due to report on 23rd February.

Now fans are being invited to sign an online petition to urge The Football Conference Internal Review Team to rescind immediately the points deductions imposed on each of the three clubs plus Bognor Regis Town.


OxVox (Oxford United's supporters trust), Stags Fans United (Mansfield Town's supporters trust), The Devils Trust (Crawley Town's supporters trust) and Bognor Regis Town supporters club today joined forces to call on fans from all non-league clubs to unite to urge the Football Conference to overturn its decision to dock points from four clubs for player registration errors.

OxVox press spokesman Mark Sennett says

“We feel that it is grossly unfair to penalise teams in such a debilitating way for administrative errors when the administrators of our league seem incapable of running a database of player registrations that is able to alert them to such errors quickly - in the case of Oxford United's Eddie Hutchinson it seems to have taken months.
Not only does such a penalty directly affect the supporters of a club, many of whom have paid for season tickets in advance, it seems disproportionate to the penalty for far more serious offences, such as severe mismanagement of a club's finances to the point of having to enter administration. When the league's administration is in such poor condition, the number of clubs being penalised for such offences makes a mockery of the integrity of competition within the league.”

The Conference is conducting an internal Review of its procedures, which is due to report on 23rd February.

OxVox chair Trevor Lambert adds:

“By holding this Review the Conference is acknowledging that its systems have not been fit for purpose. We urge them to see the logic of returning the points to all four clubs.”

Martin Shaw, of the Mansfield Town supporters trust (Stags Fans United) says

“It is grossly unfair that four clubs in the Conference Premier and South have suffered points deductions so far this season, in large part down to the inadequacy of the conference's archaic systems. In all cases, it is quite clear that there was no intent to gain an unfair advantage. Hence the deduction of points is ridiculously out of proportion to the severity of the issue, and we urge the Conference Internal Review team to accept the procedures were fundamentally flawed and to re-instate the points for all four clubs.”

The Devils Trust is chaired by Mark Ogbourne who adds:

"The Conference needs to review how well it is serving its members. They must revise the process to enable transparency and accountability for all parties at source. This is quite clearly a failure of process, no-one is arguing that any club has attempted to deceive or gain an advantage through playing an unregistered footballer. In this context the Conference should consider their role in asking clubs to sign up to a flawed - heads we win, tails you lose - process and consequently review whether the points deductions are appropriate".

Ian Guppy from the Bognor Regis Town Supporters Club Committee says:

“It is an outrage that the Conference are using flaws in their administration process against clubs. How can they adhere to the penalties imposed if they have set up a sub-committee to investigate internally. Surely if they are investigating internally that shows there is some issues with them procedurally and is a massive contradiction!
Bognor simply could not afford to appeal for risk of a heavier fine and further points deductions but we fully back all of those fighting for justice and what is right for the fans, players and staff of ALL NON LEAGUE clubs nationally as we are sure this will rear its ugly head again and again if not properly dealt with.”

The supporters trusts would like to raise the profile of the Review by inviting all non-league football fans to sign our online petition at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/confpts/petition.html, demanding that each of the affected clubs have their points deduction overturned. We will present the petition to the Conference ahead of their Review.

OxVox have also created an electronic form at http://www.oxvox.org.uk/confcontact.html,which allows fans to send their views about the running of the league, directly to the Football Association and the Conference, and we ask fans to use both the petition and the form to make their views known. Fans of Mansfield, Crawley and Bognor can change the wording accordingly.

Remember, to sign the petition, click here.



Latest | February 2009