A YOUTH football club is preparing to appeal a £3,000 fine – awarded by a court after the club substituted a player.
And the club has said that it will take around 18 months for its volunteers to raise the money again if the fine sticks.
On Wednesday, April 17, BBC News reported that Winnersh Rangers had been ordered to pay the money to the family of a 10-year-old boy who had been swapped for another player during a pre-season football tournament last year.
It was reported that the boy’s father removed him from the team in September and then accused the club of racially targeting the player.
However, the Berkshire & Buckingham FA cleared the club of any offences.
Wokingham Borough Council’s Child Protection Department were also notified.
And the case was brought to Reading Crown Court, but the club said that the first they knew about it was when they received the fine.
Club secretary Phil Chick told the BBC: “His father didn’t take well to the decision, but substitutions are just a part of the game and the manager wanted to give everyone a fair chance and even playing time.
“The parent then brought the player back to the club at the start of the new season in September but quickly removed him and asked to be refunded for his signing-on-fee, which of course we refunded.
“We were told he contacted Wokingham Borough Council’s child protection scheme.
“We didn’t hear anything else for a few months but then we received a letter from Reading County Court saying we had missed a hearing and had been fined £3,000.”
The money would have been used to pay for teams to enter leagues and other competitions as well as for equipment such as football nets.
Now the club is planning to appeal the ruling on Thursday, May 2, at Reading Crown Court.
In a statement posted on its website, Winnersh Rangers said: “Further to the piece that appeared on BBC South Today Wednesday 17th April. Winnersh Rangers FC is unable to comment any further as we do not wish to jeopardise any possible future Court proceedings.
“We also do not wish to cause the parties to this case any undue distress.”
The story has attracted national interest, even making the front page of the Daily Star on Good Friday.