MSFL Rep team stripped of cup and manager sacked

By Danny Caro, June 3, 2010
On his way: Jamie Cole

On his way: Jamie Cole

● Rep Team boss sacked after fielding ineligible players● His players are told to give back the cup and medals
● The league is fined and warned about its conduct

The MSFL Rep Team's recent London Inter-Cup success has been wiped from the record books after they were found guilty of fielding ineligible players in the final and ordered to return the trophy.

As revealed on May 21, MSFL chairman David Wolff reported the Rep team after Sam Sloma and Aron Barnes played in the 3-2 victory. Prior to the decision, the MSFL management committee dismissed Jamie Cole as Rep team manager.

The Inter-League committee awarded the match to London & Kent Border League and instructed the MSFL to return the trophy and winners medals. The committee ruled that they will record "no runner-up" for this season's competition, and have fined the MSFL £100 and "severely warned" the league about its future conduct in the competition.

The organisers discovered that the MSFL had broken competition rules after Wolff reported his team immediately after the game.

Explaining the decision to dismiss Cole, a league spokesman said: "Given the league's long-standing reputation, we felt the infringement of the registration rules was totally unacceptable and should not have happened. It was therefore the unanimous decision of the committee that Jamie Cole would be dismissed with immediate effect."

Expressing "shock and disappointment" at the verdict, Cole responded: "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 received confirmation from the league. 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.

Cole expressed "extreme anger and disappointment" at reading about his dismissal in the Jewish press. "No-one from the Committee had the courtesy to contact me to inform me of its decision. 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."

The Maccabi GB's Board of Directors had urged the MSFL to hand the cup back to the organisers before Tuesday's hearing. A statement from the MGB board said: "In the true spirit of the Maccabi ethos of fair play, sportsmanship and leading by example the MSFL Committee should pre-empt 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 Board 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."

Wolff and his committee ignored Maccabi's plea but accepted the punishment from the London Inter-League.

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."

Last updated: 2:43pm, June 3 2010