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Aylesbury FC face relegation, but not for performance

The club haven't been able to meet an FA deadline to make ground improvements.

Published by Dan Gooding at 11:40am 17th January 2019. (Updated at 1:17pm 17th January 2019) 4-minute read.

Aylesbury FC face relegation, but not for performance

Aylesbury FC face relegation this season - but not because of where they might sit in the league.

New rules have come in from the FA on ground and pitch conditions and they are meant to improve things for players.

But in Aylesbury, it's having the opposite effect.

Mike Farquarson, from the club, said:

"If we are relegated just because we are not good enough, that's one thing.

"But the players have been trying their hearts out and we are really trying to get away from that relegation zone. 

"Then to be told you will be relegated because the referee's room isn't big enough, it's a real kick in the teeth."

Mike also told us the club just can't afford to make their changing rooms bigger or make other changes by the March deadline.

After consultations with a local building contractor and his surveyor the Club were advised that a major reconstruction would be needed to achieve the minimum requirements.

This project would need to be completed by March 31st, if not they would need to have planning/finance and a guarantee from the contractor that these works would be carried out by an agreed date.

We were informed that failure to achieve the ground grading would result in relegation.

The club began the process of putting together a plan regarding the funding and management of the project to achieve the ground grading, but unfortunately very soon realised that the deadline was simply not achievable.

In a statement, the Moles said:

"The decision was taken to make this announcement as relegation is now unavoidable despite all of the hard work undertaken by the management, players and all the staff at the football club.

"Although all the people involved with the club are obviously devastated by this situation we are even more committed now to ensuring the future of Aylesbury FC, taking a step backwards to once again move forward.

"Twenty years ago the club were playing local football and went on to spend a sustained period at Southern League level - and will do so again!"

Fans respond

There has been a huge response online - with fans saying they stand behind the Moles and criticising the FA for 'crippling' regulations.

What do the FA have to say?

In a statement, the FA told us:

"In 2014, The FA and Leagues at Step 3 & 4 gave notice to their clubs that dressing room requirements would increase from 12 to 18 square metres for player dressing rooms and 4 to 6 square metres for match official dressing rooms. 

"The changes were to be completed by 31 March 2018, which was later extended to 31 March 2019, and to accommodate increased squad sizes, more medical equipment and an improved environment for players. This is a mandatory requirement from those Leagues and the vast majority have already achieved this. 

"Those clubs not compliant were written to in October 2018 to encourage them to complete the works by 31 July 2019 or they will be relegated from their respective league. 

"Clubs can apply to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund, managed by the Football Foundation, to pay for up to 70% of the funding of the work." 

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