New rule is ‘ridiculous’ says boss of Grantham Saturday League champions

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CHAMPIONSHIP-winning manager Mark Fardell has branded the “roll-on, roll-off subs” scheme “absolutely ridiculous” and fears it could cause some sides to fold.

Fardell, whose Beehive United team won Grantham Saturday Football League last season as well as the Lincs County Cup, fears the rule change will help the strong teams and hurt the weak. It would allow teams with a strong 15-man squad to be constantly rotating their players to keep them fresh while a weaker squad of only 11 or 12 players struggles even more.

He said: “It’s absolutely ridiculous. I can’t understand it. It’s supposed to be helping to keep teams going and keep them in the league but I just think it’s going to make the strong teams stronger.

“You’ll get teams with 12 players against stronger teams of 16 who can just keep rolling players on and off so the weaker teams are always going up against good, fresh players.”

Fardell has left the league to set up a re-formed Harrowby United in the UCL Division One, taking many of his Beehive United players with him. But he said that had he stayed in the Grantham Saturday League, the roll-on, roll-off rule would have made his all-conquering side even stronger.

He said: “If we were in this league this year then it would be even better for me because everyone would be happy.

“In the past I’ve asked players from other teams to play for us and they’ve said they don’t want to because they might struggle to get a game. But now I can say you are going to get as many minutes as the other lads

“I would be looking at having 16 players that can get into any side because I can tell them they’re all going to spend a good amount of time on the pitch, every game so I just think the strong will get stronger.”

Fardell is also a referee who regularly takes charge of games in the Grantham area.

He said: “I don’t know how it’s going to work for the refs. They say each sub takes 30 seconds, so how long are the games going to last?

“I’ve not heard a positive comment. I don’t know where in the county this positive feedback is coming from.

“Hopefully it doesn’t ruin football because it could quite easily knock teams out.

“Teams are already struggling - there’s no funding at all so it’s really difficult.

“I think it’s another kick in the teeth.”