Stourbridge to play on Monday after Stratford deducted three points

The Southern League has confirmed that Stourbridge’s play-off semi-final with Alvechurch will go ahead on Monday after concluding its investigation into a breach of the rules by Stratford Town.

The league announced on its website this morning  that it had deducted Stratford three points after the Football Association discovered on Tuesday that the paperwork concerning a Stratford player had not been submitted by the club.

“The Club has been found guilty of fielding an ineligible player”, the statement said.

“Following the recent case of the Club being charged by the FA relating to the fielding of Daniel Creaney in League matches when the loan documents had not been received by them, the case was concluded on Wednesday morning with it being proven.

”This then allowed the League to investigate the matter and with the co-operation of Stratford Town FC after being charged with the fielding of an ineligible player in League matches, the League's Emergency Committee considered the case referring to documentation from the Club and the FA.

“The Committee found the case proven and deducted the Club three points due to exceptional circumstances since it felt that it was not unreasonable that the matter should have been highlighted at an earlier stage following a caution administered on 19th February.

“Therefore, Stratford Town FC is able to take its place in the Play-off Semi-Final at King's Lynn Town on Monday 6th May, kick off 3pm.”

Another article on the league's website, which until this morning was advertising the wrong date for the semi-finals, has been updated and now confirms that the Stourbridge-Alvechurch match will go ahead on Monday.

For around 12 hours, the website had continued to state that the match would be played on Friday, after both clubs had announced that it would be played on Monday.

It brings to a close a tumultuous 48 hour period in which it had been announced by either the league or the clubs that the match, originally scheduled for last night (Wednesday) was postponed, then possibly not postponed, then confirmed as postponed just 10 hours before kick-off, then rescheduled to Friday, then moved to Thursday and then moved to Monday all in the space of a matter of a chaotic few hours, with the league failing to update its website to reflect Monday’s new date hours after both Stourbridge and Alvechurch had announced it, adding more confusion to already bewildered fans.

While the match will now go ahead of Monday, it means the play-off final, originally scheduled for Monday, has been moved back to next Wednesday, giving the semi-final winners just 48 hours of rest between the two fixtures.

But more frustratingly for the Southern League play-off final winners, they will end up playing in the Super Final just three days later, on Saturday 11th May, against the winners of the Northern League play-off final, which is being played this coming Saturday.

It means that the Northern League play-off winners – either South Shields or Warrington – will have seven days’ rest between the final and the Super Final, with the Southern League winners playing three matches in six days.

It remains to be seen whether the Southern League or its clubs will stage a protest over the issue next week.

Update: The Southern League have since revealed that the FA have ordered them to play the semi-final on Sunday. Read the update here.


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