FC Team manager calls for replay

By Danny Caro, October 27, 2011
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Mitch Young, the manager of FC Team A, is urging league officials to grant his team a rematch against London Maccabi Lions A after accusing them of unsporting behaviour.

Both teams had a player sent off in a fiery affair at Rowley Lane. The controversial moment came when FC Team keeper David Grossman was laid out injured on the floor following a collision.

Referee Robert Benardout did not halt play and, having regained possession, Lions' Oli Craig went on to score amid mass protests.

Lions manager Josh Newman, who is one of the youngest bosses in the league, instructed his team to let FC Team score from the restart but his players refused. The Lions went on to win the game 4-3.

Young said: "Both myself and Jonathan Pearl have been involved in amateur football at all levels for the past 20 years and on Sunday we witnessed the most unsporting action we and no doubt Jewish football has ever seen.

"Had the Lions followed the instructions of their manager and scored an own goal to even things up, it would have put an end to the problems.

"However, what followed was just shocking. The Lions captain ran up to the manager shouting abuse and saying "no way are we doing that”. Why do we have to be sporting?" The Lions manager then tried to speak to other players to instruct them to do the same and they just flat out refused. A total lack of respect and unsporting behaviour.

"I am shocked and appalled by the Lions players, which you have to remember, featured two individuals who are over 40 and should have known better. I have personally lost all respect for the Lions. I have lost all respect for the Lions players and feel they should be reprimanded by their club for such disgraceful behaviour.

"I feel for Josh Newman, who is a lovely guy, but my players, and the attending supporters from both teams were left shocked and embarrassed at this lack of sportsmanship.

"Over the years you expect to have a couple of arguments and everyone experiences what is known as 'banter' with other clubs, but this is just truly pathetic for a Sunday Community amateur league.

"For something like this to happen is sickening and brings shame upon Jewish football from a club that is supposed to be a leading light and claims to be the biggest and best.

"We have asked London Maccabi Lions, to agree with our request to the MSFL, for the game to be replayed in the manner of sportsmanship, much like the Arsenal versus Sheffield United game. This will be decided in the Management meeting in November.

"Every club throughout the MSFL works tirelessly to give it an excellent name and to promote its competitiveness and good nature. However, this act alone by a so-called 'super-club' will be enough to ruin the good name and bring shame upon an excellent league."

Lions joint-manager Josh Newman said: "I don't have any particular comments to make on the game. What I would say is that if people want to criticise me or make hysterical accusations, then that's not a problem. However, it's just not my style to do the same."

Match referee Robert Benardout said: "In my judgement, I made the right decision. I think FC Team should accept that."

Martin Fox, the Referees Secretary, said: "The referee knows the laws of the game regarding injured players and goalkeepers, and it was his decision not to halt the game at that time."

Lions captain Ben Joseph was unhappy that his team had two goals ruled out by an FC Team official running the line.

He said: "I was so frustrated at FC Team's dishonest linesman that I didn't want to engage in any sporting behaviour, even one that wasn't entirely necessary."

Last updated: 11:46am, October 27 2011