Clevedon Town 'disappointed' to have appeal dismissed

Clevedon Town's The Everyone Active Stadium.

Clevedon Town's Everyone Active Stadium. - Credit: Archant

Clevedon Town are disappointed to announce their appeal to move to the Hellenic League was dismissed by the FA Appeal Board following a hearing.

The club was pleased to be given the opportunity to pursue its appeal following the first hearing which ruled the club had made a valid application to move despite the initial rejection by the FA.

A statement said: "In pursuing the case to a second hearing the club recognised the chances of success were slim but felt it was necessary to put its case in front of the FA.

"In common with other clubs who appealed, our appeal was not a plea to leave the Western League, but to make a point to the FA that contrary to their stated aim of the reorganisation to reduce travel and costs, some clubs like ours have been seriously disadvantaged by it, in contrast to the advantages enjoyed by the majority.

"The reorganisation process is far from complete and the club hope that the detailed case it presented will help produce a more equitable outcome in the next and future reorganisations.

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"The reorganisation results in a completely changed Western League where we will lose local derbies against other Bristol area clubs who have been moved to the Hellenic League and replaced by extensive journeys to Devon and Cornwall which will require the hire of coaches.

"Overall, our total mileage increases by 52 per cent from 1670 miles at present to 2542 miles but due to the need to hire coaches for the longer trips, the impact on costs will be higher, and the impact of travelling on players who all live, work or attend college locally will be huge.

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"As a result, we explained that a number of our young team have expressed their own concerns about the impact on their jobs and education and we fear that a number will move on, but we sincerely hope that doesn’t happen.

"The club recognise the FA had a difficult job and that the geography of the South West makes it even more difficult in this region. As one of the most easterly placed teams in the Western League the impact is even greater on us and our reliance on the region’s limited road capacity particularly on Saturdays only adds to the problems.

"Despite the obvious downsides we accept that we received a fair hearing and whilst we didn’t want this outcome, we accept the decision and will find ways to move on. However, we will not jeopardise the sound financial position the current committee have established since we re-joined the Western League in 2016.

"We will look to bring in more sponsors, find innovative ways of raising additional cash and look to the continuing support of our loyal fans and volunteers. Fortunately, the work the club has carried out to the pitch and ground in the last two years, including replacement of the floodlights, pitch barrier and provision of new dug outs means the future of the Everyone Active Stadium has been secured without the need for further expenditure.

"On the field the club are delighted to confirm that the management team led by Micky Bell are all committed to carrying on the progress made on the field over the past five seasons both with the first team and the Under-18s. We look forward to the new season and doing the best we can in the new structure.

"The club did not take the decision to appeal lightly. It was not about wanting to leave the Western League. We know and love the league very well. We were founder members way back in 1892 when it was known as the Bristol and District League, so our roots are firmly in this league. So, we are very happy to be able to continue friendships with those teams who remain, and we look forward to providing our new friends from Devon and Cornwall with our traditional welcome and hospitality.

"With this statement we have now drawn a line under the matter. We thank all the supporters and volunteers for their encouragement and support, but now look forward to planning for what we hope will be an uninterrupted Covid-free season in the Toolstation Western League."

The club have had to cancel their friendly against Bath City on Tuesday June 29, with the July 9 fixture against Taunton said to be 'more realistic'.

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