Saturday, February 09, 2008

League could investigate FC row

By Marc Iles

FC United could face a points deduction, or even expulsion from the league, in the midst of a bitter row with landlords Bury.

The Rebel Reds are likely to face an enquiry from the UniBond League to assess whether they failed to fulfil their midweek game against Woodley Sports.

League chiefs will meet on Sunday to look into the matter, which has already descended into a potentially repairable war of words between the two clubs.

FC United allege that Bury were in breach of contract after postponing Wednesday night's fixture - scheduled just 24 hours after the Shakers' League Two clash with Stockport County - at the last minute.

Bury director Iain Mills claimed his club sent confirmation that the game would be called off 15 days earlier, because of the need to reorganise their own tie with Stockport, and that the decision was completely within the realms of their original agreement.

His words, issued in an official club statement, prompted an acidic response from the Rebels, who branded his claim "categorically untrue." They also asked that the story be removed from the official website.

Bury stuck to their guns, and are now understood to have provided official correspondence to the UniBond League to help with their enquiry.

League secretary Phil Bradley said: "We will review the situation on Sunday. If we find that FC United have failed to fulfil a fixture, then there are several options available to us.

"The worst case, though extremely unlikely, would be expulsion. We could also, if found guilty, impose a fine or points deduction."

Mills defended the decision not to allow the fixture to be played, claiming the pitch could not stand up to two games in 48 hours at this time of year.

He said: "The damage at this time of year takes a lot longer to repair. We saw last year what a mess the pitch got when a game was allowed against Barnet on December 30 and that was to the detriment of both clubs.

"We know the pitch better than anyone. We are the custodians of that ground and it is up to us to make sure it is playable all year round.

"I sincerely hope FC United can sort this situation out, but we will not be blamed in this matter."

The Shakers have added Stoke City striker Adam Rooney and Charlton keeper Darren Randolph to their ranks for this afternoon's visit to Bradford City.

Friday 8th February 2008