PRESTATYN Sports have withdrawn from the JD Welsh Cup after a dispute with the Football Association of Wales and opponents Caersws.
The Lock Stock Welsh Alliance Division Two club claim they have been “backed into a corner” and “singled out” after their landmark tie, the biggest game in the club’s history, was cancelled despite Sports offering to rent a club ground nearby to accommodate the fixture.
The complaint, issued by the Huws Gray Alliance side, revolves around a boundary area surrounding the pitch, which was deemed unsuitable despite passing an inspection during the summer.
The statement from the FAW, said: “After receipt of a protest from Caersws Football Club about the suitability of Prestatyn Sports ground, we can confirm that the playing area is now railed or walled off, which is a breach of rule 9b.
“The registered ground must be able to accommodate a price of admission, so a gate can be taken in all cup ties. Goal nets must be used for all ties. The playing area must be railed or walled off, except those areas and spaces excluded from spectator viewing.”
The governing body offered Sports the chance to play the game at the Recreation Ground but the majority of the squad were unable to change work commitments and child care at the last minute leaving the club facing the possibility of a fine.
This resulted in Mark Hughes and John Hargreaves managing to get the “bare minimum 11 players” for the clash, which resulted in their withdrawal.
Andrew Howard, head of competitions at the FAW, said: “In accordance with the competition rules, Caersws appealed against the suitability of the ground.
“Prestatyn Sports were asked for their observations to make to The National Game Board. The board considered the appeal and reversed the tie in accordance with the competition rules.
“Prestatyn Sports wrote to me yesterday morning and withdrew from the competition.”
Plans for a burger van, stewards and post-match hospitality now have to be cancelled following the withdrawal, and the club now faces a disciplinary hearing regarding the issue on Monday, October 23.
Ben Newell, co-founder of Prestatyn Sports, said: “As a club, we are absolutely gutted to be put in a position where we felt we had no choice but to withdraw from the Welsh Cup after the FAW decided against our ground not meeting ground requirements after Caersws lodging a complaint.
“Apparently we need a permanent railing around the pitch like everyone else in the competition, which we know isn’t the case. We’ve been very successful in the short time we’ve been together winning various cups and promotions along the way.
“We feel we’re being singled out as we don’t carry as much ‘muscle’ as bigger clubs who seem to dictate what happens in these situations.”