Sussex County League under ‘major threat’ again

The future of the Sussex County Football League has again been plunged under ‘major threat’ after being ‘dismembered via the back door’ by the Football Association.

A Division One game between Horsham YMCA and threatened Sidley
A Division One game between Horsham YMCA and threatened Sidley

That is according to the SCFL acting chairman Steve Nealgrove after the league were informed that both Rye and Crowborough would be removed from Division One and placed in the Kent League.

Both clubs are said to be fully against the move and County League officials are furious that no consultation process has taken place.

An emergency general meeting has been called at Horsham YMCA this Saturday (2pm) where league bosses will outline their concerns to each club.

With both Peacehaven and Redhill promoted to the Ryman South, and no team relegated from above (Walton Casuals have been reprieved) it will leave Division One with 20 teams, the minimum amount required to maintain Step 5 status.

And with Sidley’s future uncertain because of financial problems and a number of Division One clubs still not meeting the ground gradings it again leaves the Sussex County League under real threat of collapse.

Last season the FA were all set to disband the County League to neighbouring leagues in Kent, Combined Counties and Wessex, before Peter Bellamy and County League chiefs launched a huge fight along with all of their clubs as well as MPs to overturn the decision after consultation.

But now the league are again gearing up for another battle for the league’s very survival yet again.

Mr Nealgrove said: “This puts the league under major threat once again. We are holding an emergency general meeting on Saturday at 2pm at Horsham YMCA where we will explain to all our clubs what is going on and our concerns.

“That once again we’ll be fighting off the threat of our league being dismembered via the back door.

“The SCFL and the two clubs involved have not been consulted so the FA have failed to follow their own due processes.”

The league were informed of the FA’s decision via email late last Wednesday (May 22). They have already met with officials from both Crowborough and Rye, who are both against moving leagues, and all three parties are planning to take up their right to appeal.