Enfield Town charge puts Ryman Premier League play-offs on hold

Saturday 25th April 2015

The Ryman Premier League promotion race has been thrown into chaos with the play-offs scheduled for next Thursday put on hold.

Maidstone United claimed the title following their 3-2 win over East Thurrock United, which sees Jay Saunders’ side finish on 98 points from 46 games.

CHAOS: The Ryman League say Enfield Town's charge will be heard on Thursday 30 Apil so Premier Division play-offs scheduled for that night will be put on hold.

Hendon, who have had a great season under Gary McCann’s leadership finished second on 95 points following their 2-1 home win over Leiston.

Margate finished third on 85 points after winning 1-0 at Bognor Regis Town, while Dulwich Hamlet follow in fourth on 76 points, after coming back from Tonbridge Angels (who finished one place above the drop zone) with a 2-2 draw.

However, the fifth-place is the one that is causing Ryman League bosses concern as Enfield Town beat Witham Town 2-0 to finish on 76 points, a point ahead of Metropolitan Police.

But a decision has to be made whether Enfield Town are to be deducted points for fielding a suspended player – after the league season has finished!

Enfield Town issued the following statement on their club website a couple of days ago.

“The club and its player Aryan Tajbakhsh have been charged by the FA for playing two games whilst ineligible through suspension. The charges arise from games initially played by Aryan on his joining the club.

“The club through its own due diligence identified that Aryan’s former clubs had not correctly reported his personal details when informing the FA of bookings incurred.  The club immediately informed the FA in January 2015 of the discrepancies and were told to not play the player in the next two matches and followed that advice. The club were also informed that no further action would be taken against it. This was also notified by the FA to the Ryman League on 17th February 2015.

“It was therefore disappointing to hear on Monday that the club had been summoned to a hearing on Wednesday concerning the offence of playing the player whilst ineligible. Despite the late notice officers of the club attended the hearing.

Despite the FA recognising:

  • The Club (its officials and manager), had acted properly in carrying out the necessary checks;
  • It had identified and highlighted the issue to the FA immediately;
  • That the FA's own inadequate record system had led to this situation arising;

“The decision of the Panel was to find both club and Player guilty. There was no other penalty or costs awarded against the club. The ramifications of this decision are yet to be decided. However it is likely under the Ryman League rules we will be deducted three points for a game when Aryan should according to the FA have been suspended.

“We await the written reasons for the decision and the club will, given the circumstances, be likely to appeal.  

“We are bewildered at the decision given that it is accepted the club did nothing wrong and it was impossible to know of the incorrect records made by other clubs.  We believe the stance of the FA on this matter has far reaching consequences for football and may encourage others not to report discrepancies in the future. We will of course keep you up to date with events.

“We are sorry for the uncertainty this issue will cause to our many supporters that make this club unique.”

The Ryman League issued a statement following today’s results to confirm that next Thursday’s (30 April) play-off semi-finals in the Premier Division will be postponed until a decision on Enfield Town has been made.

Hendon are due to play the fifth-placed team, while Margate host Dulwich Hamlet in an ALL-TICKET game with Dulwich Hamlet allocated 600 tickets for the Hartsdown Park clash.

The League statement said: “The final table of the Ryman League's Premier Division shows that Enfield Town FC has finished in fifth position. However, the club has been charged with the offence of playing an ineligible player which could result in a deduction of three points.

“That charge has yet to be heard and will not be heard until Thursday 30 April unless the club agrees to an earlier date. Accordingly, the Ryman Premier Division play-off matches cannot be confirmed at this time.

“The League will now refer the matter to The Football Association because Ryman League rules make provision for matters concerning promotion to be decided by the Leagues Committee at The FA which will make any decision. The Ryman League itself is not empowered to make such a decision.

“The Ryman League will continue to work with Enfield Town FC and The FA to resolve these issues as soon possible. The League will issue a further statement in due course following consultation with The FA.”

A statement issued by Enfield Town chairman Paul Reed last night said: “The club still await the written reasons from the FA as to why their decision was reached, but the fact that they have found us guilty in this case clearly opens up far-reaching consequences for clubs across the game. Furthermore, the delay in dealing with this by the FA has the potential to disrupt the season end for a number of clubs through no fault of their own.”

Visit Ryman League website: www.isthmian.co.uk

Visit Enfield Town’s website: www.enfieldtownfootballclub.co.uk