It’s a sad day for local football, says Bickers

Football: Felixstowe United director of Football Graham Bickers believes the SIL’s decision to deduct the club four points for fielding an ineligible player “marks a sad day for local football”.

The decision, which is set to be rubber stamped next Wednesday when the SIL committee convenes, means that a win for either Old Newton or Achilles in their clash tomorrow would hand the victors the title.

The lengthy disciplinary process has left a bitter taste in the mouth of Bickers, who accepts that his club must take their share of the responsibility for fielding captain Jimmy Andrews when he was supposed to be suspended.

But he believes whatever the outcome tomorrow that Felixstowe have shown themselves to be the best side in the Senior Division this season.

“We are obviously very disappointed but we are in a situation where we have to accept the decision,” said Bickers.

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“Whatever happens in the match on Saturday we know that we have won the league on the field. The name on the cup only forms a very small part of winning the league.

“That’s not meaning to be disrespectful to the other clubs involved.” The whole argument centres around Felixstowe not knowing whether the referee had included Andrews’ sending off in his match report.

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Felixstowe only found out that Andrews’ dismissal had been included in the match report two days after the 21-day period when clubs are duty bound to suspend the offending player.

Bickers believes this whole situation could have been avoided if Suffolk FA had properly implemented their Crime Sheet policy, whereby a referee notifies clubs within three working days of any disciplinary procedures he intends to include in his report.

“We accept our part in it but we feel as though we have been let down by the FA as, if the safety net that this Crime Sheet provides had been implemented properly, then we would be champions.

“We believe the Suffolk FA have failed in their duty of care to both the league and the club.”

Chief executive of Suffolk County FA Martin Head rejected Bickers’ claims however.

He said: “We are satisfied with how we have conducted ourselves in the process and we will not be making any further comment until the whole process is completed.”

Felixstowe could still be crowned champions if Old Newton and Achilles (kick-off 2.45pm) play out a draw thanks to their superior goal difference but Bickers insisted he won’t be attending the match.

“I wish them the best of luck for the game but I don’t see any point in going to the match because, in my opinion, if either side win then they would have won the title by default.”

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