King's Lynn Town finally have a resolution over play-off chaos
PUBLISHED: 09:50 02 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:52 02 May 2019
© 2013 Mark Hewlett
King's Lynn Town will play Stratford Town on Monday in their Evo-Stik Southern Premier play-off semi-final at the Walks (3pm kick-off).
After days of uncertainty the Southern League finally released a statement on Thursday morning confirming they and the FA had concluded their investigation into allegations Stratford had fielded an ineligible player (Daniel Creaney) earlier this season and had deducted the club three points.
As Stratford finished five points ahead of sixth-placed Coalville this didn't affect them taking the final play-off spot.
Lynn will therefore face off against Stratford Monday before facing the winner of the other semi-final between Stourbridge and Alvechurch on Wednesday evening. The winner of this tie will then go on to play the winner of the Northern Premier League final between South Shields and Warrington on Saturday, May 11 although the Southern League have requested this date be put back.
A Southern League statement said: “Following the recent case of the club being charged by the FA relating to the fielding of Daniel Creaney in league matches when the loan documents had not been received by them, the case was concluded on Wednesday morning with it being proven.
“This then allowed the league to investigate the matter and with the co-operation of Stratford Town FC after being charged with the fielding of an ineligible player in league matches, the league's emergency committee considered the case referring to documentation from the club and the FA.
“The committee found the case proven and deducted the club three points due to exceptional circumstances since it felt that it was not unreasonable that the matter should have been highlighted at an earlier stage following a caution administered on February 19.
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“Therefore, Stratford Town FC is able to take its place in the play-off semi-final at King's Lynn Town.”
Lynn's semi-final was supposed to take place on Wednesday evening before news of a possible points deduction threw the game into doubt. The league decided to postpone the other semi-final in the interests of fairness as an investigation took place and all clubs waited for a final decision.
Stratford have apologised for their error which has led to the Southern League seemingly being put at a potential disadvantage in the super final given their lack of recovery time.
“We sincerely apologise to all of our supporters and all connected to King's Lynn, Stourbridge & Alvechurch for all of the inconvenience caused,” a statement on the Stratford website said.
“We sincerely apologise to everyone connected to Kings Lynn, Stourbridge and Alvechurch for all of the uncertainly and inconvenience this matter has caused which emanated from us suddenly finding ourselves at the centre of an FA and Southern League enquiry.
“We also wish to apologise to our own players, staff, volunteers and supporters for all the disruption that this has caused at a time when like all of the other clubs that have worked so hard over a long season to make the plays offs and were excitedly looking forward to the play offs only to be overshadowed by these events.
“We now look ahead to what promises to be a great game at King's Lynn on Monday.”