Conference confirm King's Lynn are demoted
Paddy Davitt Conference officials yesterday confirmed King's Lynn would not be invited to become a member of the Blue Square North season for the 2009/10 season. Lynn will lodge their appeal within the next 14 days to reinstate the club after the Linnets were demoted for failing to initiate work on a �250,000 upgrade to The Walks ahead of a league deadline.
Conference officials yesterday confirmed King's Lynn would not be invited to become a member of the Blue Square North season for the 2009/10 season.
Lynn will lodge their appeal within the next 14 days to reinstate the club after the Linnets were demoted for failing to initiate work on a �250,000 upgrade to The Walks ahead of a league deadline.
Conference general manager Dennis Strudwick declined to comment but the league did issue a statement clarifying its position.
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“When gaining promotion to the Football Conference clubs, like King's Lynn FC, will qualify providing they have the appropriate grading in which they were playing, eg the Southern League Grade 'C'. This will be considered as the entry for Conference North or South. The club then has until the following March 31 to gain the membership criteria for the Football Conference, Grade 'B'.
“An inspection of King's Lynn FC's stadium in October 2008 identified work to be completed to gain the membership criteria. The work has not been completed. Consequently, the club does not qualify for membership next season. The Board's decision is subject to appeal.”
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Lynn's appeal will be heard by the Leagues Committee based at FA headquarters in Soho Square. The club has 14 days to lodge their appeal before being given a case date.
Club officials plan to use Cambridge City's demotion over ground grading issues last summer as part of their appeal. The Lilywhites lost their bid to remain in Conference South after failing to obtain the same Category B ground grading classification. Cambridge's case centred around not having terracing and turnstiles to accommodate a minimum 3,000 capacity crowd. Lilywhites' officials argued they should be entitled to special dispensation following delays over a proposed ground move from their current Milton Road base. This was rejected by the FA board who upheld the Conference's initial ruling.
However, Conference chairman Brian Lee hinted in a recent BBC radio interview league chiefs had to show 'compassion' over the issue of ground grading.
Lee was responding to questions over Hampton & Richmond's bid to gain promotion from Conference South.
The second-placed club could still be excluded from end of season play-offs due to unresolved ground issues. Lee declined to comment on the specifics of Hampton's case but did insist the league retained a degree of flexibility over grading matters.
“There are different dates and different clubs have to do different things,” said Lee. “If there are ongoing building works, for instance, the date of completion may be delayed which could be no fault of their own. There is a definitive date but one does show, I guess, compassion if that is the word or due care to the circumstances.
“You can't set guidelines necessarily until you are faced with an individual situation and those individual situations change from year to year and club to club. We need to help clubs and that is what we are doing.”
A delegation from the FA, Richmond Council and the Conference were in attendance to check safety and security at Hampton's ground for last weekend's top-of-the-table draw with AFC Wimbledon that attracted a 3,225 crowd.
No decision has yet been reached on the Hampton case ahead of this weekend's Blue Square North and South season finale.