FA to hear Linnets appeal

PUBLISHED: 08:30 13 May 2009 | UPDATED: 16:16 10 September 2010

Paddy Davitt

King's Lynn's FA appeal over their pending Conference demotion for ground grading issues will be heard in Derby on May 26. Linnets' chairman Ken Bobbins confirmed a specially convened FA panel is to decide Lynn's fate after the Blue Square North club's failure to initiate a £250,000 upgrade on their council-owned Walks Stadium.

King's Lynn's FA appeal over their pending Conference demotion for ground grading issues will be heard in Derby on May 26.

Linnets' chairman Ken Bobbins confirmed a specially convened FA panel is to decide Lynn's fate after the Blue Square North club's failure to initiate a £250,000 upgrade on their council-owned Walks Stadium.

Majority shareholder Michael Chinn has already vowed to fight the FA in the law courts if Lynn's appeal is rejected but Bobbins is confident the club's legal team will present a strong case.

“Our barrister has indicated that we have a very good case,” he said. “The barrister tends to think, and I agree with him, that there are double standards at play here. My own personal feeling is that shouldn't come into play. The Conference have decided we should be demoted and if the FA agree that their original decision is beyond reproach then you simply have to come to the conclusion they don't care what happens to clubs.

“I just hope we get a panel who, on hearing the evidence, understand that there is a bit more to it than simply having a deadline to carry out this work on our ground. We're just waiting for official confirmation on the date and venue now because we have to speak to our barrister to make sure he is available. I'm led to believe there is another similar case on the same day which is why the appeal is in Derby although I don't know any further details regarding who that other club is.”

Bobbins revealed Lynn must now submit their formal appeal to the footballing authorities ahead of the May 26 hearing.

“We have to put all our bits and pieces in before the appeal so they know exactly what they are up against,” he said. “In many respects they may have made a basic judgement before we even get to the hearing which doesn't leave us an awful lot of time.

“We have a scheduled meeting at the club early next week to pull together witness statements from club officials, council officials and anyone else we feel has been involved in this process in any shape or form.”

Bobbins' insists Lynn's well publicised ground grading fight could mark a watershed in the wider non league game.

“We don't want to be the club that has to take a stand but the reason we are contesting this is because we have done nothing wrong,” he said. “It has taken us 50 odd years to get out of the Southern League and if the speculation is correct we might end up back in it.

“Naturally, King's Lynn is our major concern but there is a bigger picture at play here. The Conference is saying you must do this and do that but where is the assistance or help to bring grounds up to the standards they require? We had a grant from the Football Foundation to help us when we carried out work on the Main Stand the other year but you can't then go back for more money in a certain period of time. There must be loads of clubs in similar situations. If the game at the base of the pyramid is not healthy then it will impact at the top. It's only a matter of time. At some stage players, boards and clubs will just get disillusioned.”

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