The club are already planning and working towards next year and we have no fear of the adventure ahead and are looking forward to the challenge of the Premier Division, says title-winning Punjab United boss Jurgit Sian
PUNJAB UNITED were crowned Southern Counties East Football League First Division champions by email yesterday morning.
The Gravesend based outfit finished runners-up on 90 points to Aylesford based K Sports in a gripping title race.
Punjab United would have claimed the league title had they won at Holmesdale on 21 April, but a last-gasp stunning strike from Adriano Lawson broke their hearts in a 1-1 draw.
K Sports went to Foxbury Avenue in Chislehurst to beat Stansfeld 2-0 a couple of days later but their celebrations were subdued as the League dropped them a bombshell just hours before the game.
“K Sports were charged by the Kent FA for fielding a player Caine Smith whilst under suspension in the fixture K Sports v FC Elmstead played on 20th March 2018,” League secretary Derek Peck said in a statement published on the League website.
“The case has now been dealt with by the Kent FA and following their judgement K Sports have been charged under League Rule 6.9 for the same offence. The case will be dealt with at a disciplinary commission soon to be arranged.
“As a consequence the League will not be awarding any trophy after the game tonight whatever the result and once the matter has been finalised the League will confirm the championship club for the First Division.”
Mr Peck issued a further statement yesterday, to confirm that K Sports were deducted three points, which sealed the title for Punjab United.
“At a League Disciplinary Commission held on Wednesday night K Sports were found guilty of the charge of fielding a player Caine Smith whilst under suspension in the fixture K Sports v FC Elmstead played on 20th March 2018.
“The club has received a fine and in addition the three points gained in the fixture will be deducted from the club’s playing record.
“K Sports has written to the League to confirm they will not be appealing this decision to the FA and the First Division league table has been amended to reflect this decision which now confirms that Punjab United are champions.
“The League would like to place on record the professional and dignified manner shown throughout by K Sports in dealing this matter and we congratulate them on their promotion to the Premier Division.”
Punjab United have claimed back-to-back league titles and completed their league campaign unbeaten at home and will be competing at their highest level of football when the new season kicks off in August, as will K Sports.
Punjab United manager Jurgit Sian said on Twitter: “I’d like to being by thanking my management team. Through the year they have been excellent in organising the match-day, training and also ensuring that the squad we’ve assembled get the treatment they deserve.
“I’d also like to thank the clubs sponsors as their continued support has allowed the club to grow at the rate that it has.
“Secondly, the players. We’ve got a real good core of young Gravesend based players that have been with us for years and new additions this year have really took to the clubs ethos well. Without that we wouldn’t be able to have the success we’ve had.
“I’m proud of the players achievements and looking forward to this talented ground taking on their next challenge as they’re so hungry and work so hard.
“We’d like to reserve special thanks to the club’s of the SCEFL First Division who’s hospitality, guidance and support through the year has been much appreciated and helped us no end.
“We only hope we can do you proud in the Premier Division and wish you all the best of luck in your season’s next year.
“We have made a lot of good friends from other club’s and we look forward to our paths crossing in the future.
“The club are already planning and working towards next year and we have no fear of the adventure ahead and are looking forward to the challenge of the Premier Division and also competing in The FA Vase also.”