The FA have threatened to end Haverhill Borough’s hunt for a solution to their ongoing ground grading saga due to a missed administrative deadline, according to New Croft chief Peter Betts.
The facility manager said the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division side have been told their efforts to find a Step 5 ground for next season may yet be nullified, if the FA choose to enforce a paperwork deadline they claim was missed.
Betts said the HCSA, landlord of Borough’s 3G New Croft home, had been ‘all set’ to sit down and discuss the issue, when further communication from the national regulating body arrived.
He said the email said the FA were to make the decision on Wednesday this week, on whether they were willing to waive the missed March 31 deadline.
It will determine the future role of the HCSA in the outcome for Borough as, if they decide the deadline must have been met, ‘the HCSA will have no decision to make’.
“We’re now waiting to hear if we are still able to make the decision,” Betts said.
“The Haverhill Community Sports Association received an email on Monday from the FA about a pending decision on whether it would be up to the HCSA to make the decision on the ground grading issue. Apparently this is due to some requested paperwork arriving at the FA five days late after the March 31 deadline passed.
“So it looks as if the saga might drag on quite a bit more — I’m sure Borough will appeal if the FA decide a missed deadline is the end of it anyway.”
He said the HCSA board had also met on Monday night, with a view to discussing the situation, but had been unable to come to any conclusions under the latest circumstances.
He said: “It’s a little frustrating as all the power is in the hands of the FA really, so we’re just waiting for them.
“I think, either way, we need to be looking at a long term solution — whether they are relegated and get promoted again or manage to get another season in the Premier Division, this problem won’t go away.
“But, from a HCSA perspective, we also need a bit of clarification on what Borough’s plans are, and what they want to achieve.
“The board have no idea what they plan to do and these discussions need to be had, about when and how upgrade work could take place on the 3G and, even, where the funding could come from.
“So there’s a lot more to it than if they can just ground share with Rovers next season.”
He said he thought any work on the 3G would need to be completed ahead of July, due to the busy use of the pitch.
Betts explained: “We are a business as well as the home of two football clubs, who both have more than just first teams and lots of youth football too.
“And our job at the HCSA is to balance all of that as best we can. We can’t have the 3G out of action during the season, and it’s also too well used by other groups throughout the year so it would need to be done over the summer when it is quietest.
“Otherwise, everyone will go to all this effort to get another season in the Premier Division and they’ll just face the same issue come the end of March 2019 and be relegated then.”
Borough remain six points clear of the relegation zone in the league with seven fixtures to go in the 2017/18 season, forcing the Borough committee to act earlier this year when survival seemed likely.
Borough chairman Dave Hardwick was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.