Kent League have bent the rules, blasts Palmer
|Beckenham Town stalwart Peter Palmer
has accused the Kent League of trying to hijack his club's promotion bid
after the points from an abandoned game were awarded to their opponents,
reports The Non-League Paper.
The league leaders are eligible for promotion having spent £141,500 on ground improvements over the last two season's, but Palmer believes the sixteen-club league is trying to keep hold of his club.
In a remarkable outburst after a disciplinary hearing, Palmer said Beckenham would fight their case with the Football Association, accused the league of a "stitch-up" and trying to "engineer a way to keep us down."
The controversy arose after Beckenham arrived for a game at Erith Town with a kit which match referee Paul Kelly said was too similar to the home side.
Beckenham's press officer Ian Muir drove to Holmesdale FC at 2:30pm to get replacements - with the referee setting a 3:35pm deadline for the match to go ahead.
Palmer insists the kit arrived at 3:38pm, but the referee stood by his decision and called off the game.
As well as awarding the points to Erith Town, the hearing also fined Beckenham Town £500 and ordered them to pay the Dockers' £580 expenses.
"It's unprecedented and brutal," Palmer said. "I went into the hearing expecting a slap on the wrists and got knocked out.
"According to the League handbook you can only have points deducted if you show no intention of trying to play. We went to every effort.
"We are appealing to the FA and hopefully sense will prevail - these are the sort of things that send clubs under and I'm flabbergasted.
"I think the Kent League don't want us to go up and because they don't want to lose a member are trying to engineer a way to keep us down.
"This is a stitch-up. I'm sure we were found guilty before I went to the hearing. We are ambitious to climb the Pyramid, whereas most clubs in our league wouldn't qualify for County standard.
"We did everything we could to get a replacement kit and everything we could to get the deadline extended. There is nothing in the rule books of either the FA or the Kent League that specifies when a match has to kick off."
Meanwhile, the Kent League title race was left wide open as second placed Maidstone United moved within three points of Beckenham following their dramatic 3-2 win at Eden Park Avenue yesterday.
Beckenham took the lead after 38 minutes, against
the run of play. Stones' former Beckenham defender Mario Celaire
failed to control a long clearance and Ryan Martin took full advantage and
fired past Maidstone goalkeeper Pat Mullin.