Show us your true colours now, demand MGBSFL bosses


A group leading Maccabi League officials and managers are urging Jewish players to prioritise playing ahead of watching football this Sunday.

Tottenham’s televised Premier League clash against Chelsea – both of whom have a large percentage of Jewish season-ticket holders – has left several Maccabi clubs short of players for their matches which traditionally kick-off at 10am. This has left managers pleading for players to show commitment and loyalty to their cause.


Redbridge Jewish Care A submitted a request not to have a game as secretary RICHARD BRONZITE admits they “would not have been able to put out a team”.

MGBSFL Fixtures Secretary NIGEL BURNS is also Head of Junior Football at Maccabi London Lions. He said: "Speaking as Fixtures Secretary, not just our league but any grass-roots league cannot just bow to television and allow for the Sunday games to be postponed – all the leagues have tight schedules to fit in and if we were to allow it because Spurs are playing Chelsea at midday then what happens if Watford or Leyton Orient are playing at 12 midday in a few weeks time – we would never get the games played or the season finished.

"What it does though is forces supporters who also play football (whether they are 7 or 70) or referee to make a decision – which invariably means either letting their team down or not seeing their team play - the FA wonder why 11-a-side football is dwindling and maybe a decision to schedule games at 12 midday or even 1.30pm on a Sunday have a lot to do with it.

"As a Chelsea fan, and as it’s an away game I am actually not going to the game - I myself will be out refereeing a Masters game at 10am, should just be home in time for midday, but then as manager of our youngest son’s Under-12's team at Maccabi London Lions, I have to leave at 1.15pm to get to an away game in time for warming up at 1.45pm.

"To be fair, though as Manager of a Junior Team at Maccabi London Lions, for over 10 years, first with our eldest son Josh and now our youngest son Jason, their Sunday football comes first – I have made that commitment and if Chelsea are playing on a Sunday, even though we have season tickets, I don’t go unless we are lucky enough to not be given a game and if Chelsea are on television at 1.30pm, I miss it."

MGBSFL chairman DAVID WOLFF insists the decision ultimately lies with the players. He said: “People are signed up to play Maccabi League football so we expect them to play games. It’s simple. Either they are committed to playing or watching, but we can’t run the league around the teams.

"The priority for us is to get the matches played. The FA are aware of the problems regarding potential clashes but the Premier League are a law unto themselves. They are not bothered about grass-roots football and are only interested in corporate bodies and advertisers.”

STUART LUSTIGMAN, chairman of the Maccabi Masters League, described the clash as a “real threat to Sunday League football”. He said: “It’s frustrating when the FA is supposed to be encouraging grass-roots football but we’re competing with the best league in the world.

"It’s something we have to live with and we have to accommodate players with the dilemma as there is no easy solution.

"The bottom line is that we can’t change Premier League kick-off times, so flexibility is the key."

Woodford Wanderers admitted to “having a real issue” ahead of their meeting with Faithfold B as three members of management team, Alex Aviram, Martin Sales and DARYL KAY are all season-ticket holders at White Hart Lane.

Kay said: “Chelsea at home is obviously one of our biggest games of the season. Earlier in the month Martin was in contact with the guys at Faithold to try and arrange an earlier KO time (9:15/9:30 would help us out massively) but we didn’t hear back for some time and finally today (Tuesday), we have received a ‘no’ from them.

“Before I tell you their reason, I need to point out that WE are the team travelling away at 8am on a Sunday morning (7:30am if we have an earlier KO), and WE are the team who have still requested an early KO. They have to do no travelling at all, and we’ve even offered to pay the Referee extra to make it an earlier KO. We’re also willing to find a pitch that would mean we meet in the middle so that we don’t miss the Spurs game.

"Their reason for saying no, and I quote their manager’s text message to Martin - “Unfortunately we have a lot of Gooners who don’t want to make an exception”. Let’s assume that is indeed the truth for the moment, is that a grown-ups response?

"I'll remind you that just over a month ago, we took a team that was down to its bare bones, with one player signed at the 11th hour up to Leeds on a freezing, wet and grey morning at 7am. I didn’t get home that night until after 9pm. We also had to arrange our own travel, lay out for everything and we took the game all the way to penalties WITH NO SUBS! That is how we are as MEN and NOT boys.

"Woodford provide the very best facilities for away teams – our pitches are the best, our changing rooms are the best and spotless every week, and we also have safe and secure parking. The league is in an absolute mess this season and teams like Faithold, who are getting thumped every week, are not helping. By the way they also owe us £10 for losing the changing room key when we beat them at home a few weeks ago – Until today, we hadn’t even considered asking for it.

"Last week we played away at Sosobad who are our Essex counterparts and they went out of their way to secure a 4G pitch knowing that Fairlop might be called off. That is how it should be.

"Considering all of the above, I absolutely expect David Woolf to have an input and help us out in this situation.”

Faithfold manager Mark Truman, who recently took over the reins from Elliott Bloom, responded: "My explanation of our team having many Arsenal fans has been taken slightly out of context. It was a mere, light-hearted point to imply our squad isn’t made up of a majority of Tottenham fans and we aren’t in the same position as Woodford find themselves ahead of our fixture on Sunday.

"Woodford requested an early kick-off, which we aren’t able to accommodate for due to various personal reasons throughout the squad. Not that I feel it required to explain the commitments amongst the squad, but one particular factor in the resistance to an early kick-off – common to many of the players – lies in having commitments to babies/toddlers in their families and having to be present in the earlier hours of the morning.

"Whilst commendable, we have no interest in the valiant stories of Woodford’s efforts in committing to fixtures and kick-off times with other teams in the past, given such stories are in no way relevant to this weekend’s fixture.

"We fully support David’s comments that “either they are committed to playing or watching”. It is clear what comes first for Woodford."

But some clubs have shown goodwill to their rivals. SPEC FC’s RICKY LAWRENCE was keen to “thank” JASON STEIN for moving their match against Oakwood B forward to a 9.45am start.

Lawrence said: “Yes, it's disrupted Sunday morning massively and it's a shame as we are on a good run.

“We'll be without virtually a whole team and a load of good players but it's a one-off and these things happen and we’ll definitely put a team out.”

“In fairness Oakwood B are made up of northerners and Spurs against Chelsea is not of much interest to them. I guess we're unlucky with who we're playing but it's just one of those things. Jason Stein very kindly moved it to 9.40am which he didn't have to do.”

Stein sympathised with Lawrence and said: “SPEC approached me in the middle of last week and asked if we could do anything on KO to alleviate the pressure on those wanting to go to Spurs. I like Ricky Lawrence and I always try and help where I can so I offered a 9:40am KO, which Ricky accepted. In my view anything earlier was too much of an inconvenience.

"As you know, we're a northern side and a game like this has no impact on us. However, me, and dozens of others involved with Oakwood have chosen to sacrifice going to United, City and Liverpool on Sundays for years now. The Leeds contingent are fine as Leeds don't play in the Premier League. Just thought I'd throw that in!

"And we've made that sacrifice because playing football beats watching or going to football. When I lived in Manchester I attended 90 per cent of United games. It wasn't easy cutting that figure hugely, but it is what it is. Too many times I've seen players disrespecting the club they play for - and the manager - by choosing to go to some mid-table clash. And make no mistake, that's what it is. You don't 'need' to do anything. You're making the choice. And that choice is 'I'm going to leave my teammates in the lurch here."

"Imagine if any of those lads met the Spurs or Chelsea players post-match and got chatting. And they told them they played for a team too. And Harry Kane responded "oh that's cool, did you have a game this morning then?" 'No, I left my teammates and manager in the lurch because I was just desperate to watch Kyle Walker.

"I get it. Football is a big thing. But playing should come first because those are memories that last forever. I'm happy to help SPEC and I genuinely hope they have a good and competitive side out, but I feel sad when I see lads choosing something else over their own team."

Real Sosobad are another club who “missing a couple of regulars” due to the clash. But manager DAN SHAFRON said: "Of course it is not ideal. Several players in the MSFL are season-ticket holders of clubs they support and invariably pay well in to the £1,000’s to watch their team play.

"As a manager, I would never dare tell any of my players not to go to a game of football. We play leisurely and they are well within their right to go."

Camden Park match against Oakwood A has been moved forward 15 minutes but manager WILL CASTLE conceded the early start “still won't allow people to get to the game”. He said: “A couple of players had tickets but Camden comes first.”

Some managers also believe there are clubs who are unwilling to show flexibility to start times in a bid to gain an advantage. Harmen’s JOE MARSH said: "Hendon refused to budge so as a team we will be watching the game together after.

"They must know we have a few Tottenham and Chelsea boys in our squad and they thought they would try get the upper hand in regards to keeping the kick-off at the time which is best suited to them, but fortunately enough for us our boys are fully committed to the Harmen cause and have given up their ticket to the game to play on Sunday."

Hendon’s DAVID GARBACZ responded: “Harmen asked for a later start under the Hadley floodlights which we were unfortunately unable to accommodate.

"To be honest, I don’t see the story – it is not up to us or any other Sunday League for that matter to dictate when the Premier League should have kick-offs.

"It is not a one-off – there are plenty of examples usually involving derbies where kick-off has been 12 midday on a Sunday. I presume the reasons are for security and safety purposes which is not really something we can argue with.

"None of our players will be affected – they will play for us then go home and watch the game."

FC Team B’s MITCH YOUNG believes that Maccabi League football comes first. “Whoever you play for or manage should always come ahead of a professional team you support.

"Your own individual successes and achievements far outweigh that of a professional footballer or team you follow."

Scrabble FC’s RAY ABRAHAMS described the clash as “another example of where money and television are more important to the big boys than grassroots football”.

He said: “Yes it's certainly a pain with the 12 o'clock kick off at Spurs and also I've got to get to Upton Park for a 1.30 kick off.

"I'm fortunate that my team is intact as my boys although some of them season ticket holders at Tottenham want to play football as a priority. We always stress commitment.

"If you sign for a club you know that these situations may occur and I would have seen it as letting their team mates and me down and a sign of a lack of commitment to the club if they'd have gone to Spurs over playing."

Abrahams's Scrabble have won seven on the spin since returning to the MGBSFL. He added: "We did ask Athletic Bilbaum for a 9am or 9.30am kick-off, but they declined probably thinking we would be short of players.

"I don't think clubs should be allowed to pull out of games for this situation as they join a league and know the rules at the start of the season.

"It will be interesting if there are any odd results on Sunday because of this as I do believe that it will impact badly on Sunday morning football to allow the professional clubs to kick off at this time."

SAMUEL MARCHANT of Maccabi London Lions B admits his plans for the game “haven't been affected too badly”. He told JC Sport: “One or two players might be unavailable due to the Tottenham-Chelsea fixture but this is why a sizeable squad is needed when playing in the MGBSFL.

"We haven't even considered asking for an early kick-off as our game would need to start at 8.30am latest if people were to have enough time to change and make the 12 o'clock kick-off.

"Of course it's unfortunate that the Barclays Premier League - some might say deliberately - have a 12 o'clock on a Sunday to clash with the MGBSFL fixtures, but there's not much that can be done.

"I would not be a fan of an earlier kick-off on a Sunday, in order for certain players who support the Premier League teams in question to play for their MGBSFL clubs. If they choose to support their team rather than play, that's down to them.

"It's a shame for them and their club that they can't play but MGBSFL clubs need to be prepared for situations like this. It's happened many seasons prior to this one and it will continue to happen.

"It would be great if the Barclays Premier League acknowledged the problems they cause in Sunday football playing attendance, but I'm not sure that they'll be willing to negotiate on the matter."

But it’s not only the players and teams who have been affected. Referee’s Secretary ANDY MYERSON said: “It’s going to be a real struggle to get the games covered this weekend.

“I have five referees who will be at the Spurs game and four out injured, so it’s not just the teams who struggle with absentees.”

ADAM GLEKIN's Hendon United B are “only without one for Sunday because of the game”. He said: “It could have been a bit of a disaster but thankfully it hasn't hit us too hard.

“Scheduling professional games at 12 noon isn't ideal, but it's out of our hands. I’m not really sure what the solution is.”

SAM RANK of Redbridge B will missing his Maccabi League match, along with some team-mates due to the derby. But RJC fans rest assured, he told JC Sport: “Due to the size of the squad the B-team, we are able to put out a strong team for the away game against Los Blancos.”

ROB RICHMAN, manager of defending league champions North London Raiders A, is at ease with the clash. “Fortunately our plans haven’t been too disrupted by the earlier Premier League kick-off time,” he told JC Sport. “It only impacts on one or two and they are likely to choose Raiders ahead of Spurs.

"We did offer Faithfold the option of kicking-off a little earlier, but we both agreed to keep it at 10am which suits us to be honest.

"The early Spurs game quite obviously doesn’t help our league and I’m sure there will be some clubs adversely impacted but in truth it’s only usually once a season that there is a kick-off at this time and unfortunately there isn’t much we can do about it."

Raiders come up against Faithfold A and JC Manager of the Week DAN BERESFORD believes the “12 o’clock kick-offs have a massive effect on every Maccabi League team”. He said: “We have a lot of Spurs fans in the side. I'm hoping it won't impact too much.

"They asked for a 9.30am KO but to get to Brunel that early is going to be as hard as getting to White Hart Lane for 12, so either way I think both teams may be affected."

JEFF GOTCH of Catford & Bromley Maccabi says a 9.45am start was requested by Division Two rivals Real Hendon. He told JC Sport: “I have agreed to this as its only 15 minutes and doesn’t really bother me.

"All of my boys haven’t even mentioned the game at 12 between the other side and Chelsea."

L’Equipe’s NICK STERN had no reason to request an early start. “I only have one confirmed absentee in the shape of James Bell but apart from that the rest of my team are more sensible with the majority either supporting Arsenal, Barnet, QPR or even Leeds,” he said.

"We even have a Manchester United fan from London in our ranks as well. James Bell will be a miss of course but we will not suffer like others I am sure will.

"I will say that as an Arsenal season ticket holder for 25 years I don’t have much sympathy for either fans of these two teams!

"I would say the bigger story is the almost annual occurrence of Spurs vs Arsenal on either Yom Kippur, Kol Nidre, or Passover.

"The only way around this in my recommendation is to have David Wolff on the FA board - this will solve all problems!"

Oakwood A joint-manager Dan Kristall told JC Sport: "This particular game doesn’t impact us as most of our team support northern based sides, although it has affected our opposition and we have agreed to a slightly earlier kick off to help them out.

"In general, fixtures are totally governed by what the TV channels want. I wouldn’t have thought much will change in the near future, it certainly isn’t the best way of encouraging players to get involved in Sunday League football, especially when numbers are dwindling as it is."

JONATHAN ISON of Los Blancos says “none of my players go that often to matches this season, so we have not really been affected.

"In previous seasons, we have asked for early KO's, but the new 10am time works perfectly as 12am Premier KO's are quite rare."

Temple Fortune chairman NIGEL KYTE said: "Being an Arsenal fan, I had no idea that this fixture was taking place on Sunday let alone at 12 noon! (Sorry, I have little interest in either team!)

"That said, I have always been against early kick-offs at 1.30pm let alone noon. It is the Premier League and BT Sport/Sky sticking a middle finger up to Sunday morning football and I personally think it is a disgrace.

"How it will affect the Temple Fortune team I do not know at this current time."

A spokesman for BT Sport described the clash as “unfortunate” and confirmed the scheduling of the London derby, which was originally set to take play on Saturday afternoon, was down to “both club’s European football commitments".



Redbridge Jewish Care A - requested no game
North London Raiders A - only impacts one or two
Hendon United Sports Club A - not affected and will watch game at home
Camden Park - request for early kick-off accepted - players gave up tickets
Maccabi London Lions - did not comment
Oakwood A - not affected but agreed to early kick-off
Harmen - requested special kick-off - declined by opponents - - players gave up tickets
Blizzard Storm - did not comment
FC Team A - did not comment
Faithfold - will have players missing

Brady Maccabi - did not comment
Woodford Wanderers - requested early kick-off - declined by opponents
Oakwood B - agreed to early kick-off
Real Sosobad - two players missing
SPEC FC - requested early kick-off - agreed by opponents - missing "virtually a whole team"
Los Blancos - not affected
North London Raiders B - did not respond
Redbridge Jewish Care B - not at full-strength, A-team not playing
FC Team B - MGBSFL comes first
Faithfold B - did not comment
Brixton Old Boys - did not comment

Hendon United Sports Club B - missing one player
Scrabble FC - requested early kick-off - declined by opponents
L'Equipe - one confirmed absentee
Faithfold C - did not comment
Real Hendon - request for earlier kick-off accepted
Maccabi London Lions B - plans unaffected
North London Raiders C -
Athletic Bilbaum - declined request for early kick-off
Catford & Bromley Maccabi - agreed to early kick-off
FC Team C - did not comment
Temple Fortune - angered by kick-off time
Boca Jewniors - did not comment

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