Southern League finals “farce” continues

This from Black Country Radio regarding the fiasco surrounding the Southern League Premier Division, Central play-off’s.

The shambles of Stourbridge’s play-off semi-final has taken another unbelievable twist this afternoon after the Football Association stepped in and moved the match to this Sunday.

The decision is likely to be met with sheer amazement by fans who have been battling through a spate of contradictory information, mixed messages and changing dates so far this week.

No word has been given so far as to whether the match will actually go ahead on Sunday, however.

The latest development overrules the decision of the Southern League to play Stourbridge’s match against Alvechurch on Monday, which was supposedly ‘confirmed’ last night (Wednesday).

It’s understood that the FA Alliance Committee held an emergency meeting to discuss the farce, which has seen the match moved repeatedly over the past 48 hours following the postponement of the original fixture, due to be played on Wednesday night.

The Southern League had only confirmed this morning (Thursday) that the fixture would definitely go ahead on Monday.

This announcement came after the league’s website showed incorrect information for most of Wednesday, which said the match would go ahead on Friday, before finally being updated to say it would go ahead on Monday, more than 12 hours after both Stourbridge and Alvechurch had announced the Monday date.

But then, on Thursday lunchtime, the statement was deleted and a new statement posted on the league’s website confirming it would now be played on Sunday, with the semi-final winners meeting in the final on Wednesday, followed by the Super Final the following Saturday.

The Super Final will be contested between the winners of the Southern League and Northern League play-off finals.

But the Northern League play-off winners, which will be either South Shields or Warrington, will have had a full week’s rest between their final and the Super Final, whereas the Southern League play-off winners will end up playing three matches in six days.

This led to the Southern League requesting the postponement of the Super Final, but a statement on their website reads: “The Southern Football League requested that the Super Play-Off Final is rescheduled from Saturday 11th May 2019.

“The matter was considered at an emergency meeting of the FA Alliance Committee this morning who reached the decision set out below:

“The Southern Football League are instructed to play the Evo-Stik League South Premier Division Central Play Off Semi-Finals on Sunday 5th May 2019, and the Final on Wednesday 8th May 2019.

“The Super Play-Off Final will be played on Saturday 11th May 2019.”

Fans who had now taken the revised date of Monday as being the end to the saga have expressed their incredulity at the FA’s decision to move it again.

But, astonishingly, neither Stourbridge nor Alvechurch have so far agreed to play the match on Sunday, nor have Stourbridge been able to confirm whether they can even host the match then, with both teams wanting to play on Monday.

It means that, since Tuesday morning, the fixture has been moved postponed on Wednesday, then not postponed, then confirmed as postponed, rescheduled to Friday, moved to Thursday, moved to Monday and then moved to Sunday.

On Tuesday, Stourbridge chairman Andy Pountney threatened to withdraw the club from the competition if it didn’t go ahead last night (Wednesday) as originally planned, saying he and the club were “disgusted” by the league’s “mess”, condemning their handling of the matter.

The fixture has since been moved four times.

It remains to be seen whether the two clubs will agree to fulfil the fixture on Sunday.

The saga began earlier this week when Stratford Town, who were due to play Kings Lynn in the other Southern League play-off semi-final, were accused of fielding an ineligible player.

That tie at the Walks Stadium has been given the go-ahead to be switched to Saturday as roads around the ground will be closed on Sunday due to a 10K run taking place in King’s Lynn.

The divisional final will be played on Wednesday 8th May 2019.

The Super Play-Off Final will be played on Saturday 11th May 2019.

 

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