Goalposts cannot be shifted near end of season

By Danny Caro, April 15, 2010

Rules are rules, or so they say. Sometimes, I believe the common sense law is better applied. As I reported last week, Red Sea became the sixth Maccabi League team to fold this season. Having played less than 75 per cent of their games, the rules state that their results must be deleted. The timing of their demise could not have been any worse, with just over a month of the season remaining.

The sensible thing to do would have been to let the teams that have played them keep the points and give their remaining opponents three points each. Representatives from North West Neasden B, North London Raiders A and Oakwood feel the same.

The MSFL handbook clearly sets out what action decides various issues but I believe that this episode could have been dealt with in a fairer way, simply by communicating with all the teams in the division and voting. It is not right that the goalposts have been moved so late in the day.

As well as an insufficient number of players, another reason why teams are folding is due to financial penalties. Every time a team forfeits they are fined, and rightly so. But once it's clear that there is a problem, the league should try to help them, rather than hinder them with multiple fines.

All clubs are run by dedicated volunteers and not all of them have the resources to keep coughing up. That's why Brixton Old Boys are a shining example to all. They have been struggling for numbers like the best of them and have lost all 14 league matches and scored just four goals. But perseverance and the love of the game has kept them going. They have been a credit to the league for plugging away and for not taking the easy option.

● Remember lasagna-gate 2008? Well now there is fajita-gate. There was talk of conspiracy theories when North London Raiders duo Jonny Blain and Jonny Shapiro turned up for their match against Oakwood complaining of discomfort following a double dinner date the previous night. Blain's fiancée, Nina, allegedly, under-cooked some fajitas as the boys prepared to watch El Classico. Thankfully it turned out to be a false alarm with Blain, who coincidentally supports Spurs, full of running as he scored in a 3-2 victory.

● The credit crunch does not appear to have had a bearing on Leeds Maccabi who make their second trip to London inside a week when they take on North West Neasden B. Ahead of the quarter-final clash, Leeds manager Howard Bloom said: "It's not ideal, but what can we do? Unfortunately it appears that we have to finance at least two trips to the south every season. Whilst there is a little support from Maccabi Trust, the rest has to come from players within our own club. Thankfully we have a few guys with a few quid!"

● Nick Bick, manager of Jewventus FC, is stepping down due to family and golf commitments. Assistant-manager Gabriel John told me that Nick "has been asked to take a back seat by his own Chair Lady, Mrs Louise Bick". John added: "All at the club thank him for his time, effort and passion."

Last updated: 1:20pm, April 15 2010