The JC MSFL Management Committee have dismissed Rep Team manager Jamie Cole after they admitted to fielding ineligible players in the recent London Inter-League Cup final.
As reported on May 14, a day after the final, League chairman David Wolff reported the team to the organisers after Sam Sloma and Aron Barnes played despite failing to meet the criteria to play in the competition.
A statement from the league read: “The Management Committee of The JC MSFL have considered the events surrounding the London Inter-League cup final held on 13 May 2010. The Committee were extremely concerned about what happened and the League's long standing reputation. The infringement of the registration rules was considered to be totally unacceptable and should not have happened.
“It was therefore the unanimous decision of the Committee to dismiss Jamie Cole from his role as Rep Team manager with immediate effect."
Rep team manager Jamie Cole responded to the decision. "I'm shocked and disappointed in the way in which this matter has been dealt with. With regards to Aaron Barnes. This is the first I have heard that he was not eligible to play. The Cup final was played on 13th May 2010. Aaron Barnes played for London Lions against my North West Neasden team on April 28 and May 28. On that basis I trust he was signed up to play in the MSFL and therefore play for the Rep side."
Turning to Sam Sloma, Cole said: "At the beginning of the season I submitted a registration form to sign him up for North West Neasden. I was informed that Sam, who plays for Woking FC in the Blue Square South division would not be able to play for Neasden during Woking’s season. Woking completed their fixtures and I intended to play Sam in Neasden’s final league games. On the eve of the game, a number of players withdrew from the squad. I was also asked by London Lions Saturday team not to start a number of players who were involved in London Lions’ title run-in. I was therefore, short of players so contacted David Wolf to ask permission to play Sam, which was granted.
"Whilst I take partial blame for this unfortunate misunderstanding, I believe that I am being used as a scapegoat. I was aware of the eligibility criteria and contacted David Wolf to confirm that Sam Sloma was registered to play in the MSFL and therefore, for the Rep side. David confirmed that he was eligible to play. On that basis I consider that it is the Committee which had erred. It was not part of my job description to check the registration forms. However, I repeat I did check that my players were eligible to play.
"I'm extremely angry and disappointed that I discovered that I had been relieved of the position by reading about it in the Jewish press. No one from the Committee had the courtesy to contact me to inform me of its decision prior to speaking to the press. I can’t stress how disappointed and angry I am as it appears the Committee is trying to hide behind me and shift the blame when we are all responsible. I had intended to step down in any event due to work commitments and to give a different manager a chance as I consider that the honour should be given to someone new each year.
"As far as I was concerned, I was given the task of winning the competition with players from the MSFL and I had completed that task. I am extremely proud of all of the boys who played in the competition this year and thank them, Andy Myers and Darren Yarlett for all their efforts."
The decision to remove Cole followed a call from Maccabi GB to hand the cup back to the organisers.
A statement from MGB read: “It is the opinion of the Maccabi GB board that in the true spirit of the Maccabi ethos of fair play, sportsmanship and leading by example that the MSFL Committee should preempt any potential disciplinary action by the Inter League Cup Committee by giving the Inter League Trophy and the winners medals back to the organisers immediately.
“The Maccabi GB Board of Directors have asked the Maccabi Southern Football League Chairman David Wolff and his Committee to take this action irrespective of the Inter League Cup Committees ruling on the use of an ineligible player.”
In a further statement from the MGB board, it said: “We believe in integrity and sportsmanship and will continue to try and work closely with our affiliates and the community.”