SCEFL decline to comment on the future of three of its member club's

Monday 17th April 2017

The Southern Counties East Football League have declined to comment on speculation that three member clubs may be withdrawing at the end of the season.

Speculation has been doing the rounds that Premier Division club Erith Town and First Division pair Crockenhill and Orpington, may be pulling out.

Erith Town’s situation will throw the Premier Division relegation battle up in the air as before this news two clubs were expected to be relegated at the end of the season.

Newly-appointed League secretary, Derek Peck said: “Speculation on the future of clubs at this time of any season is always rife and this season is no different.  But it is only speculation and situations can change from one day to the next.  I cannot comment on the cases you’ve mentioned.

“As regards to promotion and relegation there is an article on the home page of the League’s website, which sets out what may or may not happen under a number of different scenarios.  In my experience, it’s only at the League’s AGM in June when it all gets sorted.”

Speculation is doing the rounds in the First Division that Crockenhill and Orpington are seeking voluntary relegation as they have failed to install floodlights at their grounds.

Glebe, who had four games in hand on Rusthall during the season, clinched the First Division title at the weekend after their 2-0 win at Forest Hill Park, while Rusthall also celebrated their first promotion into Step Five with a convincing 6-0 win at Crockenhill.

It was suggested that the Southern Counties East Football League should follow in the footsteps of the Isthmian League by re-arranging postponed games within six weeks to ensure clubs are not faced with playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday towards the end of a tiring season.

“Fixtures are postponed for various reasons,” said Mr Peck.

“We leave this in the capable hands of our experienced fixtures secretary Matthew Panting to deal with in consultation with the clubs concerned and we are not looking to change that practice.

“This season has gone extremely well from a fixtures point of view and the situation Glebe found themselves in was in the main due to their success in reaching the Third Round proper of The FA Vase, the Quarter-Final of the Kent Senior Trophy as well as the Final of the London Senior Trophy, where their Semi-Final had to be replayed, which meant another Saturday league game having to be postponed.”

Chatham Town, meanwhile, go into their last three league games sitting in the highest relegation spot in the Ryman League Division One South, so could be dropping back down to the SCEFL for the first time since 2001.

However, club’s that finish in the highest relegation places in each division around the country, may receive the get-out-out-jail card if club’s higher up in the pyramid pull out.

The Southern Counties East Football League Premier Division title is between Ashford United and Crowborough Athletic, who are locked on 83 points going into the last three games of the season.

Fisher (25 points) and Erith & Belvedere (26) go into Easter Monday’s games in the relegation places in the Premier Division, with Lordswood (27), Erith Town (28) and Beckenham Town (28) looking over their shoulders.

The League statement said: “Promotion to Step Four is always in the hands of the FA Leagues Committee (FALC) and is usually decided at their May meeting.  The SCEFL champions can usually expect to be promoted but it is not certain until the FALC say it is.

“Relegation from the Premier to the First Division will fall upon the bottom two sides at the end of the season.  If no side is relegated from Step Four (Ryman League Division One North and South) to the SCEFL but one is promotion then only the bottom side will be relegated.

“Promotion from the First Division to the Premier Division will be awarded to the top two sides at the end of the season.  Glebe are already assured of promotion. Rusthall have also been assured of promotion.  Kent Football United’s ground didn’t meet the required grading standard at 31 March.

“Relegation from the First Division to Step Seven (Kent County Premier) is entirely in the hands of the FALC. Club whose ground does not meet the necessary grade will be placed at the bottom of the league table in the order they finish the season and the FALC will decide who, if any, are relegated.  Similarly, any promotion from Step Seven to the First Division is in the hands of the FALC.”

Gravesend-based Punjab United, who lead the Andreas Carter Joma Kent County League Premier Division in their first season at that level, are expected to be a SCEFL First Division club next season, but all will be confirmed at the SCEFL Annual General Meeting, as Mr Peck says.

Article published: 10:30 – Easter Monday, 17 April 2017