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Albion blow as cup finals are axed

Sunday club say FA chiefs’ decision is ‘killing footballers’ dreams’

13 August, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

Albion’s Daniel Glaude says he is ‘outraged’ by the decision to scrap the finals. Picture: LouisaHutchinson.Photo

THE Middlesex FA have been accused of “killing the dreams” of amateur footballers after announcing they are cancelling all outstanding cup finals.

In a statement sent out to clubs last week, the governing body for the county said that “it is with deep regret” that they have “taken the decision that it will not be possible to complete its 2019/20 Cup competitions”.

It comes after numerous league campaigns were made void amid the coronavirus outbreak.

What should have been a routine measure, and would have no doubt been well-supported by clubs, was, however, inadvertently complicated by the London FA. Faced with the same decision, they have announced that starting later this month they will be completing all of their cup finals.

Among the clubs affected by Middlesex FA’s decision are Highgate Albion, who had two cup finals to look forward to. Albion’s first-team were due to tackle Putney Town in the final of the Middlesex Premier Cup, while their Reserves had reached the final of the Middlesex Junior Cup, where they were set to take on Ruislip Rangers.

“What Middlesex have done is ruin the dream for loads of players who, for years, have dreamed of lifting one of their respective cups,” said Albion’s first-team manager Adam Shahein.

“To watch the London FA finish their finals and for Middlesex not to is a real kick in the teeth for grassroots sports, and a clear indication that the county has no interest in supporting men’s Sunday football. It is an absolute disgrace and their excuses are not acceptable.”

He added: “They have no idea, mentally, the lift they could have given people during these dark times. If we are allowed to play friendlies, and seasons are starting again in September, why on Earth can’t we complete cup finals?”

Albion Reserves captain Daniel Glaude echoed the views, adding: “I am outraged by this decision. Honestly, how has the Middlesex FA come to this decision when other counties and competitions are playing their finals?

“How much money have they been taking off teams for years?

“Reaching this outcome tells me they don’t care about the teams and just can’t be bothered.”

In an added twist, some teams including Albion have volunteered to pay any expenses involved in hosting the finals themselves, and just want the Middlesex FA to “agree to recognise and crown the winners as the official champions”.

The Middlesex FA statement said: “When the 2019/20 season was ended by the Covid-19 pandemic, it was our intention to complete the competitions, maybe as a curtain-raiser to the new season.

“At that time, we had no idea of when competitive grassroots football would return, nor what the conditions required for matches to be staged safely would be.

“We have delayed a decision as long as possible. However, the longer the period when competitive football was not permitted as a result of the pandemic, the more likely it was that we would be unable to stage our cup finals.

“After the FA released its guidelines for the return to football in late July it was evident that we would not be able to stage the finals safely nor to anything like the standard of a Middlesex FA Cup Final. Therefore, it was reluctantly decided to curtail the competitions.

“We appreciate that this decision will be a huge disappointment, but we hope you appreciate that, in the current circumstances, it was absolutely necessary to and was made only after the most careful considerations in line with current Government advice.”

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