Junior football cup in ‘chaos’ as players facing glut of matches during GCSE exams


Huddersfield club at loggerheads with officials over games backlog

A prestigious junior football tournament has been thrown into “chaos” due to a dispute involving a Huddersfield team and Football Association officials.

Huddersfield side Westend has found itself currently unable to take part in the West Riding County Football Association’s under-16s County Cup over claims they fielded an ineligible player – which they are disputing.

Cup games have been postponed and may now end up being played in May.

The problem has exacerbated by the postponement of other matches due to recent bad weather.

Parents of Westend boys, who play at Salendine Nook, are concerned that the games will now be played when boys will be sitting their GCSE exams.

Gill Farrell, the mum of one Westend player, said it was outrageous to expect so many games to be played in May.

“It is ridiculous,” she said.

“How can you play six rounds of football, which must mean at least two night matches right in the middle of the most important exams of their young lives?

“Instead of risking damaging the future prospects of these kids, they should postpone the Cup until the start of next season.”

A spokesman for Westend said the problem of postponed games was affecting Westend, Lepton Highlanders, Sandy Lane of Bradford, Ossett Albion and several Leeds teams.

“The event is in chaos. The case (relating to the disputed game) has gone to appeal. The FA has confirmed that the third round will be played in May, with the others rounds, semi-final and final concluded before May 31.”

Westend asked for advice from the County FA about the backlog of games and how it may affect players sitting exams.

The County FA told Westend that the “duty of care” lies with parents over whether their children should play or not.

“If a parent expresses a wish that their child does not play (pending an exam for example) then this wish should be respected by the coach and the child excluded from the team for that game.

“If the coach subsequently plays him, then the coach is failing in his duty towards the child.”

The County FA said that football “can provide a natural release from their exams/revision period.”


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