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Archived News from April 2009

CONFERENCE REPORT HAS NO ANSWERS
5th April 2009 23:36


29 March 2009

Other media coverage:

BBC Non-League Show, 30Mar2009: Kelvin Thomas (Oxford Chairman), Andy Perry (Mansfield chairman), Trevor Lambert (OxVox), Martin Shaw (Stags Fans United) - listen here.

Mansfield CHAD: Conference review ....

Nottingam Evening Post: Perry unhappy with Conference review.

Oxford United Statement.

Non-League Paper: 'whitewash'

Meanwhile, Stags Fans United's Martin Shaw and OxVox's Trevor Lambert said: "SFU and OxVox are greatly concerned by the inference through the media that supporters' trusts have been guilty of aiming abuse at the Conference itself or individuals within the Conference. Both organisations vehemently deny this accusation. All of the letters to the Conference and our statements have been written with the utmost courtesy and are in the public domain, for anyone to judge for themselves."

Non-League Paper, 29 March 2009



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29 March 2009
http://www.footballconference.co.uk/news/news_article.asp?id=1138

Statement from The Chairman of The Football Conference, Brian Lee.

The Football Conference Sub-Committee has concluded their review of the organisation and procedures at the Birmingham Office.

Since Mansfield Town were discovered to have played an unregistered player in the first week of the season, random checks of team sheets using a similar system to those undertaken in other Leagues, found three other Clubs had also played unregistered players. These Clubs were also dealt with in accordance to the rules.

Whilst the breach of rules quite naturally attracted a lot of attention it is important to note that 21 Clubs in the Blue Square Premier, and 64 Clubs out of 68 in the whole competition had abided by the rules.

The Review Sub-Committee would like to emphasise to all Clubs that it remains their sole responsibility to ensure that all players are correctly registered before making them available for selection. To play an unregistered player is an absolute offence for which the penalty is the deduction of points.

The Board of Directors recognise that they have a hard working and committed Staff in the Birmingham office who have received an unfair amount of criticism over the last few months. The continued support of Clubs, who continue to have confidence in them, has been most welcome.

The Football Conference has also received negative communications and in some cases unwarranted abuse via Supporters Trusts. These groups have been unaware of all the facts and the legal implications both of Clubs complying with the Rules and the absolute obligation of the Board to apply the same.

Communications of this sort does nothing for the game we all love or the Clubs they support.

The Review Sub-Committee are satisfied that all the necessary office systems are in place, but will continue to monitor and observe any new procedures being developed in the national game that will further enhance the operations of our competition and the communications with our Clubs, supporters and partners.


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Full media articles references above:


http://www.oufc.co.uk/page/News/0,,10342~1608419,00.html
Oxford United Statement
United ask questions
Posted on: Tue 31 Mar 2009
Oxford United have issued the following statement.

We are disappointed in the findings of the Conference Review Sub-Committee and the subsequent statement from the Football Conference.

Having discussed the report and considered our reaction we are writing to the Conference with a series of questions that we feel need to be answered in light of the findings.

We have released our response into the public domain to ensure that it is clear that there is no inference of personal attack on any of the Conference staff. Our criticism is not of the administrative staff but with the procedures within the office.

It is also worth noting that we fully accept our responsibility in the registering of the players and have altered and strengthened our procedures to prevent this from happening again.

We have been told that the Football Conference have also changed their procedures but their statement does not indicate that. Therefore we are just looking for simple answers to our questions so that the procedure is made clear for all clubs in the future.

In the interests of clarity and transparency of the league we are looking for answers to the following questions:

What are the current procedures for checking team sheets after a fixture has been played?


Has this procedure changed at any point during the current season?


Has this procedure changed at any point during the last three years?


Can the Conference indicate which other leagues perform random checks on team sheets?


If random checks were performed can the Conference highlight how they were administered and also how the league ensured that this was a fair system?


Were the findings of the Review Sub-Committee forwarded to all board members before the statement was made?


Will there be any further discussion at board level about the findings?


If the Conference are confident of the current and historical procedures would they welcome and allow an independent review of both?

We look forward to the responses.

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Conference dash Stags hopes of winning back deducted points
CHAD.co.uk, 30 March 2009
By Tim Morriss
MANSFIELD Town's hopes of persuading the Conference to return the four points deducted for player registration irregularities appear to be over.
http://www.chad.co.uk/stags/Conference-dash-Stags-hopes-of.5120373.jp

At the weekend the Conference published the results of an internal inquiry into the 'fiasco' which hit four Conference clubs, including the Stags.

And The Review Sub-Committee said it was 'satisfied that all the necessary office systems are in place'.

But Stags chairman Andy Perry today said: "As a football club we do not find this statement acceptable. By changing their procedures from checking team-sheets randomly to each match shows they are acknowleding there is a problem.

"We want to make it clear to all Mansfield Town fans that we have written two letters to Brian Lee regarding the points issue and have been working hard behind the scenes to advance this issue.

"As a football club we are still waiting to hear directly from Brian Lee.

"This morning I spoke to the Oxford United chairman and we both wish to acknowledge the hardwork of both our supporters trusts.

"As a governing body their role is to check that the rules are adhereed to and that their procedures are correct."

Last week, Mansfield Town's supporters trust - Stags Fans United - was one of three groups again urging the Football Association to step into the points deduction row.

The Stags had been deducted four points in October - sparking a slide from top of the table to the relegation zone - after it emerged that several players were not properly registered for the first two matches of the season, when they gained four points.

The Conference never received faxed details from the Stags and failed to spot the discrepancy when the players featured in the 16 for the pening match of the season at Ebbsfleet - so the Stags again fielded some of the players in the 16 at home to Histon on the following Tuesday.

But on Saturday Brian Lee, chairman of The Football Conference, said in a statement: "The Football Conference Sub-Committee has concluded their review of the organisation and procedures at the Birmingham Office.

"Since Mansfield Town were discovered to have played an unregistered player in the first week of the season, random checks of team sheets using a similar system to those undertaken in other Leagues, found three other clubs had also played unregistered players. These clubs were also dealt with in accordance to the rules.

"Whilst the breach of rules quite naturally attracted a lot of attention it is important to note that 21 Clubs in the Blue Square Premier, and 64 Clubs out of 68 in the whole competition had abided by the rules.

"The Review Sub-Committee would like to emphasise to all clubs that it remains their sole responsibility to ensure that all players are correctly registered before making them available for selection. To play an unregistered player is an absolute offence for which the penalty is the deduction of points.

"The Board of Directors recognise that they have a hard working and committed staff in the Birmingham office who have received an unfair amount of criticism over the last few months. The continued support of Clubs, who continue to have confidence in them, has been most welcome.

"The Football Conference has also received negative communications and in some cases unwarranted abuse via Supporters Trusts. These groups have been unaware of all the facts and the legal implications both of Clubs complying with the Rules and the absolute obligation of the Board to apply the same.

"Communications of this sort does nothing for the game we all love or the Clubs they support.

"The Review Sub-Committee are satisfied that all the necessary office systems are in place, but will continue to monitor and observe any new procedures being developed in the national game that will further enhance the operations of our competition and the communications with our Clubs, supporters and partners."

However, on Monday the SFU and OxVox - the Oxford United supporters trust which also put pressure on the Conference - said they were 'greatly concerned by the inference through the media that supporters' trusts have been guilty of aiming abuse at the Conference itself or individuals within the Conference'.

The trusts added: "Both organisations vehemently deny this accusation. All of the letters to the Conference and our statements have been written with the utmost courtesy and are in the public domain, for anyone to judge for themselves."

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Perry unhappy with Conference review
Evening Post, March 30, 2009

MANSFIELD chairman Andy Perry says he is not satisfied with the findings of the review into the Conference's administrative procedures.
http://www.thisisnottingham.co.uk/homesport/Perry-unhappy-Conference-review/article-855381-detail/article.html
Four clubs – the Stags, Oxford, Crawley and Bognor Regis – have been docked points this season for fielding an ineligible player or players.
That led to complaints from the teams and their supporters that the league needed to address the way those registrations were handled.
Of particular frustration was that details still had to be faxed, rather than using an up-to-date computer database.
The Conference announced in January it would conduct an internal review and later publish their findings.
They were announced late last week and Conference chairman Brian Lee said he was 'satisfied that all the necessary office systems are in place.'
However, Perry's main point of contention is that checks of team-sheets for problems are now made routinely.
Earlier in the season, when Mansfield were penalised and had four points taken off them, inspections were made only at random.
"I just want to clarify why operational changes have been made midway through a season," said Perry.
"Had team-sheets been checked for every game, as they are now, then teams wouldn't have fallen into the trap (of not registering players correctly).
"We have still not had a credible response to that point.
"We have written three letters to Conference chairman Brian Lee but only received replies to the first two."
Fans groups led by Mansfield's Stags Fans United and Oxford's OxVox have already taken their own concerns to a higher level by writing to the FA.
They are demanding the points be returned to the clubs concerned.

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No problem with us - Conference
BBC.co.uk, 30 Mar 09
The Conference's review into its own procedures has found no fault with its operation after four clubs lost points for fielding unregistered players.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_conf/7971656.stm

Chairman Brian Lee has also criticised fans' trusts for negative comments in the wake of the points deductions.

Mark Sennett, a spokesman for Oxford fans group OxVox, said: "We reject any allegation from the Conference that it has received 'unwarranted abuse'."

They have also asked the Football Association to comment.

The review was set up after Oxford United, Crawley, Bognor Regis and Mansfield had points docked for fielding unregistered players.

Oxford United officials have been meeting to discuss their response.

So far Lee has not responded to requests for an interview by BBC Oxford.

In the statement, he said: "Since Mansfield Town were discovered to have played an unregistered player in the first week of the season, random checks of team sheets using a similar system to those undertaken in other Leagues, found three other clubs had also played unregistered players.

"These clubs were also dealt with in accordance to the rules.

"The Football Conference has also received negative communications and in some cases unwarranted abuse via supporters trusts.

"These groups have been unaware of all the facts and the legal implications both of clubs complying with the rules and the absolute obligation of the board to apply the same.

"The review sub-committee are satisfied that all the necessary office systems are in place, but will continue to monitor and observe any new procedures being developed in the national game that will further enhance the operations of our competition and the communications with our clubs, supporters and partners."

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Earlier stories:
SUPPORTERS TRUSTS WRITE TO THE FA
PERRY: POINTS DEDUCTION STILL RANKLES
YOU STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING!
Other earlier stories here.
Chris Bird on BBC Non-League Show here.
YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING.

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Latest | April 2009