RUSHCLIFFE Eagles under-18s manager Bob Helstrip says he is finished with youth soccer after his team were expelled from the Lincolnshire Intermediate Football League.
Member clubs voted to expell Rushcliffe from the league due to “gross misconduct” at a special general meeting held last week and overseen by a Lincs FA representative.
Clubs read reports of an incident that occurred following a cup semi-final between Rushcliffe and Retford United in March. Bob was allowed to address the meeting in his club’s defence but a two-third majority vote saw Eagles expelled and their record expunged. Two Rushcliffe players have subsequently been banned by the FA for life.
Bob said he accepted that two players’ actions were out of order and said he threw them out of the club on the night of the incident
Bob said: “Two players got involved with Retford players and then all hell broke loose. It was an incident regarding two boys and some spectators, and innocent players got the backlash. It was all over in a matter of minutes. The league have blown it out of all proportion.”
Played at Harlaxton, Rushcliffe lost the cup fixture 3-2 in a match that had gone off without incident but were heading towards winning the LIFL South Division .
Bob said: “Teams with vested interests voted against us. The league were totally out of order. They have broken every rule in the book.
“It’s a farce. Rushcliffe should have been able to carry on playing. I have been involved in youth football a long while. It’s just so, so sad.”
LIFL South Division representative Simon Giddens said that member clubs had read reports and adjudged the incident to be serious enough to kick the whole Rushcliffe team out of the league.
Simon said: “The way I see it, it’s a team game. No-one likes to see this but everything was done by the book. The committee are elected by the clubs and members voted them [Rushcliffe] out.”
Simon said an FA investigation into the incident was still ongoing.