Licensed Trades League draws final breath

THE Licensed Trades League is to fulfil their finals day at Ransomes Sports Club on Sunday despite the decision not to run next season.

One final was played last night and the others will take place at the weekend as a league that began in the late sixties draws it final breath.

At one time the LTL had five divisions and over 60 teams, but it has come down to two divisions this term.

George Debman, who has been a leading figure in the league for many years and is current acting secretary, said: “Just because we have decided to call a halt doesn’t mean that we will not be seeing this season out with the same vigour as before.”

Debman has had talks with Flare Recruitment League chairman Bob Friend and it has been agreed that the rival Sunday league will accept applications from LTL clubs.

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“I was determined that our clubs would continue to be able to play football,” added Debman.

“And for those clubs who had already indicated they would have stayed with us in 2010/11 we will as a league be paying their application fees to the Flare League.

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“And when the winding up finally comes at our annual general meeting the money left in the kitty will be used at the discretion of clubs who will be asked to make the decision.

“My meeting with Bob Friend was very productive and there were a lot of plusses that came out of it.”

The Flare Recruitment League will become the biggest Sunday league in East Anglia, while the LTL fades away.

What went wrong?

“Society has changed in the 40 years the league has been running after starting with friendly games after moves by Colin Saul, Neville Smith and Ted Bell,” explained Debman.

“When clubs started to fold in Sunday we looked towards a gentlemen’s agreement with the Flare League that players could not play in both leagues in the same season.

“They would not agree, and there has been a slow erosion since then.

“And the third reason why we have lost clubs is the paperwork that we insist on.

“I feel strongly that like Saturday and youth football, team sheets should be handed to referees before every game.

“This increased the amount of paperwork for our club secretaries and also led to players being able to play shall we say with no questions asked in the Flare League that does not operate a team sheet system.

“We had talks with Suffolk FA about carrying on, and we were only expected to lose three sides – and to gain one. But we felt it was best to ‘amalgamate’.”

The Flare League has confirmed that it will write and invite 16 remaining teams in the LTL to join them.

To accommodate the large influx of team’s several new divisions will need to be formed. It is intended to fit the former LTL teams into various divisions so that they do not become a league within a league, but become fully intergraded.

Friend said: “Although it is sad to see the LTL fold these are exciting times for Sunday football, and we continue to go from strength to strength.

“As a league we’ll do all that we can to make it a smooth transition for LTL teams wishing to join us.

“There are also referees and they will also be written to inviting them to officiate in our league.”

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