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Club Statement: EFA Hearing

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Filed: Friday, 15th November 2013
By: Staff Writer

Thundersley Rovers' appeal against a charge of improper conduct was rejected at an Essex FA hearing tonight.

A three-man panel rejected Rovers' appeal that the charge against Sunday Seniors manager Richard Thacker - the result of match referee Ray Saville's report - should be dismissed due to the discrepancies between Mr Saville's version of events and those of Club officials present at the game.

Mr Saville, who was a last-minute appointment, claimed in his match report that Mr Thacker had approached him in an aggressive manner towards the end of the friendly between Rovers' Saturday and Sunday Senior teams, demanding that the match be abandoned.

This differed greatly from the Club's version of events, in which a three-man Rovers' team countered that Mr Thacker had approached Chairman Graeme Howlett - who was a spectator at the match - requesting permission to ask the referee to end the game in order to prevent any further bookings (of which Mr Saville had made several) and subsequent fines.

It was the view of both Mr Howlett and Mr Thacker that should the game be allowed to continue, further cautions were inevitable as both believed Mr Saville had long since relinquished control of the match.

Having been given permission by Mr Howlett (due to the non-competitive status of the match), Mr Thacker approached the referee in a respectful manner and during a break in play to request that he end the game early - which Mr Saville agreed to do.

However the panel ruled that regardless of the specific circumstances, as Thacker had entered the field of play without the referee's permission the complaint was upheld.

Thundersley Rovers are disappointed that the panel - which consisted of Essex FA Director Lawrence Segal, Mick Willmore and Roger Crane - refused to allow us the opportunity to raise our wider concerns about the performance of Mr Saville; issues which included:

* Booking a player for an infringement he had not been involved with

* Failing to retain full control of the game, for which evidence was provided in the form of photographs

* Stopping the game midway through the first half so he could retrieve his vehicle from a nearby road, as it had begun to roll away from its parking spot

Whilst we were informed that none of these issues were allowed to be discussed as the hearing was solely to adjudicate on the specific incident in question - and warned that should we attempt to do so, further charges could follow - we were therefore surprised when the panel raised the unrelated issue of the referee's assistants.

The Club were warned for allowing two minors to accept roles as assistants on the day (which we only did as it was in our view a non-competitive, in-house friendly) yet Mr Saville - who was fully aware that his two assistants were below the age of 16 and failed to mention on the day that this was unacceptable or against FA rules - escaped censure or criticism.

All in all, this particular friendly - with its associated costs of pitch preparation, hiring a referee and the subsequent fines - has now cost the Club well in excess of 200.

As a result of tonight's decision, Thundersley Rovers will be requesting the respective leagues refrain from awarding Mr Saville any further fixtures involving our teams to officiate.

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