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Archived News from February 2009

22nd February 2009 23:48

19 February 2009

Media coverage: Mansfield CHAD, Nottingham Evening Post, Oxford Mail, Bognor Regis Observer, BBC Radio Nottingham audio, Drive, 20Feb2009, BBC Radio Oxford (live interview with Trevor Lambert and Martin Shaw, 21Feb2009, Non-League Paper (22Feb2009).

This season, supporters of Oxford, Mansfield, Crawley and Bognor have all been bemused to see their clubs docked points for player registration errors (*). Following a joint statement by the supporters trusts of Oxford, Mansfield and Crawley, and local and national publicity for the statement, the Football Conference announced it was conducting an Internal Review of its procedures, which is due to report on 23rd February.

(*) Crawley points deduction subject to appeal on 27th February.

In an earlier statement, Martin Shaw of the Mansfield Town supporters trust (Stags Fans United) said: “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.”

Just over a week ago, the supporters trusts got together to set up 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.

The online petition was closed on Wednesday 18 February with over 3500 signatures collected online, including from Oxford chairman Kelvin Thomas, and from the three Stags owners, with chairman Andy Perry himself commenting in the online petition: "If the team sheet from the Saturday game had been checked by the conference on the Monday or Tuesday then the players in question would not have played on the Tuesday night. All team sheets must be checked and cross referenced to the registration database!"

OxVox (the Oxford supporters trust) and Stags Fans United wanted to give those who had not been able to signup online an opportunity to still register their support for the petition. The two supporters trusts therefore were out in force before their club's recent home games with Barrow and Kettering respectively, with clipboards and sheets of paper for people to sign, with a message that there was no need to sign if you have already signed online.

On behalf of the board of Stags Fans United, thanks very much indeed to everyone for signing up before the Kettering game. We got over 500 signatures from people who had not been able to sign online.

When added to 1000 signatures collected by OxVox before the Oxford v Barrow game on Saturday, and the online petition, we therefore have over 5000 signatures in total.

When asked whether we thought 5000 was a good number, Martin Shaw said: "Yes. It sends a very powerful message to the Conference Internal Review team that supporters are not happy with the conference's procedures and the way they have penalised clubs with points deductions."

Trevor Lambert, chairman on OxVox, drove to Birmingham today (19 February) to personally hand over the petition to the Conference (photo at the bottom of this story).

The Conference's PR agency have told us that although the Conference Internal Review team is reporting back to the Conference board on Monday February 23, it won't go to the clubs or go public until after the Crawley appeal is settled (this is being heard by the FA on Friday February 27).

So, once again, thank you from the board of Stags Fans United. We will keep you informed.

Martin Shaw, Stags Fans United

Earlier stories here.

Trevor Lambert, of OxVox, hands over the petition to Keirina Rowland of the Conference on Thursday:


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