Forfeits are devaluing Cyril Anekstein Cup, says Wolff


David Wolff believes teams who pull out of the Cyril Anekstein Cup through fear of suffering heavy defeats are devaluing the competition.

Three Premier Division teams reached the quarter-finals of the MGBSFL League Cup competition without playing after their opponents defaulted.

Holders North London Raiders A progressed to the last eight, having played only one match — a 3-2 victory over second division L’Equipe — and they are now just two matches away from a return trip to Wingate & Finchley after Faithfold A forfeited.

Top-flight sides FC Team A and Oakwood A received walkovers against Athletic Bilbaum and Raiders B respectively, with the lower league teams citing a shortfall of players.

Lower league clubs in the past are known to have cited the fear of a heavy defeat when facing the prospect of fielding incomplete teams against top-flight opposition.

And MGBSFL chairman David Wolff expressed “disappointment” at some teams pulling out, despite being above the minimum quota for the ties to go ahead. He said. “It doesn’t do the competition any good.

"I think there is a combination of reasons. Yes, some teams don’t want to be heavily beaten, but some clubs are genuinely struggling for numbers.

"Generally, the lack of interest in players wanting to play on Sunday mornings is a worrying factor."

Hendon United boss David Garbacz’s admits: “It can be very demoralising to get beaten heavily by teams in the higher division so I’m sure that becomes a factor when they decide to pull out.”

"Long-term, it could affect confidence and end up having a detrimental effect on the season. Saying that, it doesn’t say much for the magic of the cup and overall, despite the gaps in ability it is quite poor for teams to just pull out without even trying. I doubt it is a question of resources because they would rarely pull out of league games.”

Rob Richman, who led Raiders to double glory last season, has called for the MGBSFL to change its cup registration rules.

Richman said: “I don’t think teams should be scared to be beaten comprehensively in the last 16 but the rules surrounding registrations have definitely played a part. In the Anekstein Cup, a player has to be registered 14 days prior to the cup tie rather than just three days for a league game. It means for teams who have a few boys who get injured or pull out the week before a cup game you can’t sign any replacements.

"More frustratingly there are boys who would have represented a club the previous week in a league game but then can’t play the week after in a cup match.

"Raiders B had two players in that situation and that can be the difference between having enough to fulfil a fixture and not having enough.

"I'm sure there was a strong reason for the rule coming in originally but in my view it should really be the same as the rule for the league games."

Mr Wolff insists the decision ultimately lies with the teams who enter.

He said: "The 14-day rule was put in to compensate the original 21-day rule. The clubs have to vote if they want to dispense with the rules."

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