Four Vanarama National League clubs have lost their appeals against the Football Association’s decision to exclude them from the play-offs due to a failure to meet ground-grading standards.
A short statement from the FA said “At a hearing of an FA Board of Appeal held today (26th April), appeals lodged by the following clubs against exclusion by The National League to participate in ‘End of Season Play Offs’ were rejected.
Darlington 1883 FC
Hungerford Town FC
Poole Town FC
National League North club Darlington and National League South trio Hungerford Town, Poole Town and Wealdstone will all be exclude from the play-offs, regardless of where they finish in their respective leagues.
Darlington were the first to react to the news, saying “The Football Association have officially informed us that our appeal against not being allowed to participate in the play offs has been rejected.
This therefore means that regardless of our finishing position, we will still be playing in the Vanarama National League North next season.
The club will make no further comment on the matter on any of its media outlets”.
All four clubs were given hearings that took place at Wembley on Wednesday, however they were told later in the day that their appeals had been successful.
After being told of the outcome of the hearing Wealdstone FC Chairman Peter Marsden and Vice-Chairman Nick Archer said “Whilst this is disappointing news, as a club we have done everything to make our case as strong as we possibly could in very unusual and constantly changing circumstances.
The players and management team have done a fantastic job in bringing us as close as possible to a play-off position but, most importantly, we are ready for a promotion challenging campaign next season”
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Hungerford Town manager Bobby Wilkinson described himself as “devastated” and he went on to say “I’m gutted, we are all gutted here”
“It feels like maybe, as a club, we could have have missed an opportunity.
“I always believed in my players and myself that we could reach the play-offs and continue this wonderful success story we have at Hungerford Town”
In a short statement the Crusaders said “We have failed in our appeal to take part in the play offs this season and the original decision has been upheld by the FA.
The recommendation is that the rules are to be reconsidered by the FA and the VNL going forward”.
Attention will now turn to next season as all four clubs will look to put a disappointing end to this season behind them.
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)