LNFS strip Manchester of 3 points after been found guilty of fielding an ineligible player:

By James Fletcher

The LNFS award Sheffield 3 points in the league as Manchester found guilty of fielding an ineligible player in their league game against Sheffield. Played at the MMU Platt lane sports complex which is the current home of the Manchester futsal club. The game ended 6 – 5 to Manchester with the player in question bagging himself 4 goals.

The rules of UK futsal league are as follows; no player can play if the forementioned player had been dismissed in the previous game in any competitive futsal game across the UK. And will be considered suspended until he has served his suspension. In this case the player had played in another futsal competition and received 2 yellow cards which resulted in his dismissal. It was understood by both Sheffield and the league that Manchester was oblivious to this. As they boast a wealth of talent throughout their ranks, and if they were aware of his dismissal the forementioned player wouldn’t have played.

Once this was flagged up by Sheffield that this player should’ve been ineligible to play making the league aware of their findings. The LNFS opened up an investigation into the incident and reached their verdict on the 29th of October. As a result, Manchester was stripped of their victory and Sheffield awarded the 3 points, which kept Sheffield firmly on top of the league with 12 points, while Manchester dropped out of the top four places into 6th with just 1 win to their name.

Once the news reached the Sheffield backroom staff that justice had been served, I spoke to the head coach of Sheffield, and he shared his thoughts about the decision made by the league. exclaiming that he would’ve preferred a rematch and how he didn’t want to win the game in this manner stating;

“I would have preferred to win or lose on the court. We definitely could’ve beaten them on the day regardless, our overall performance was very good. A draw would’ve been a fair result, the game was full of quality from both sides. And has probably taken away some positivity from an outstanding game of futsal.” (Jordan Wildey Head Coach, 29/10/2021)

Wildey also went on to add that he thought Manchester made a genuine mistake as they could’ve called upon a wealth of talent within their squad. After I spoke to Wildey I contacted Manchester who released this statement in connection to matter in hand which reads as follows;

“Manchester Futsal club regrets the inclusion of an ineligible player in the fixture against Sheffield Futsal club on the 17th of October 2021. This was done unknowingly and a genuine administration error, and the club has taken significant measures to ensure this doesn’t happen again. We offer our apologies to Sheffield Futsal club and the LNFS England.” (Chris Berrevoets Manchester Futsal club secretary, 1/11/2021)

This is a clear indication that they were unaware of the suspension of said player and offers their apologies to both Sheffield and the league. With the rule of no player could play in any competitive Futsal game if they received a suspension in another futsal competition. These types of mistakes can easily be done by any club and does overshadow from what was a fantastic advert for the sport in the UK. I truly believe along with Sheffield and the league that it was indeed an error by the club and it is great that they are taking steps to prevent this type of thing from happening again. And is a lesson to fellow Futsal teams in the UK that this can easily be done.    

Following this the League removed the 3 points from Manchester and awarded them to Sheffield and reported the player in question to the county FA. When asked if they issued a further ban to the player, they responded by stating that they couldn’t impose a further ban, that would be dealt with by county FA. But the league did release this statement which reads;

“Manchester fielded a player that was suspended after receiving two yellow cards in another competition. As a result, the league has awarded the three points to their opponent, Sheffield. The league is satisfied that this was an honest error resulting from confusion, on the club’s part, regarding suspensions crossing over between competitions, and therefore we have decided not to impose further sanctions.” (LNFS, 29/10/2021)

So, it seems that is that. No further action will be taken against Manchester by the LNFS. But there is still the matter of what further punishment the player could get if the County FA deem it necessary to issue a further ban rather than the initial 1 match ban. Nothing has been released by either club or the FA regarding this issue and still remains ongoing.

Both teams are back underway tomorrow with Sheffield traveling to Chorley to face Jogabola, while Manchester play host to Leeds super eagles. It’s still unclear if the player will be allowed to play for Manchester while they wait for the county FA to come to a decision on the matter.  

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