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October 2016
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The grossest FA cock up of them all. I promise you won’t believe this.

By Tony Attwood

It has been clear since the earliest days of its existence that the FA is run by a bunch of dodos.

But now that assessment looks to be challenged, for it is clearly an insult to dodos.  Dodos must have been the cream of the intelligentsia compared to the FA.

What has brought on such a detailed revision in my thinking about the FA is the situation at Enfield Town FC.   Enfield are in a battle with the FA over their place in the play offs, and the FA have retreated so far up its own backside it has now taken residence in its own small intestine.

It is a case that reveals a level of incompetence that cannot be believed – incompetence not only from its own officials (we are used to that) but in terms of the way it runs the entire record keeping system concerning players who are suspended because of accumulating cards.

I have delayed writing about the FA and Enfield Town until today because I thought that even the power-made, insane, corrupt and inept FA would have a decision on the Enfield case by now, but no.  They have said that after six hours of thinking, making paper aeroplanes and undoubtedly a number of suitable breaks for brandy and coffee the verdict of the FA Appeal panel hearing as been deferred until Monday, due to the complexity of the legal arguments associated with the case.

And do note here before we go any further.  The criminal organisation involved in this affair is the FA.  And the investigating body is the FA.  And the jury that is hearing the issue is the FA.  And the person who is going to pronounce judgement is a member of the FA.

So what is it, I hear you demand, that the FA have done THIS time?

Enfield Town (whose web site claims they are the country’s first supporter owned club) are in Division 8, the Isthmian Ryman Premier League, and they finished 5th in the league this past season.  It is on a par with the Southern League, that my local team Corby Town won this year, and it feeds into the Conference South.

Or it is supposed to.

As for Enfield (in case you are not a Londoner) it is the extreme north bit of Greater London.  It is about nine miles north of the Emirates Stadium.

Any way just before the play offs started the FA decided to knock three points off Enfield’s total for the season for the ancient crime of fielding an ineligible player. (This crime was introduced in the 19th century to stop players moving about from the club to club without filling out the proper forms).

Now the first problem is that this alleged “crime” happened three months before the play offs, so sorting it out just as the game was about to happen was a bit stupid.  But it is the FA, so you expect that.

But the ineligible player, Aryan Tajbakhsh, is only ineligible because of a cock up by…. yes, of course, the FA.  They made a mistake in recording his bookings through the season.  (Apparently they spelled his name in various different ways and so didn’t link up the fact that he is the same man throughout).

Now Enfield, being sensible people (even though their lords and masters, the FA are not) told the the FA that there was an error in its records.  Embarrassed (given that this is a bit like telling God that actually due to a mistake in writing things down there were only nine commandments handed to Moses instead of ten) the FA agreed that if Tajbakhsh missed the next two games, all would be ok.

The FA then sent an email to the Ryman League, saying that “no further action” would be taken against the club.   And so what did the FA then do a few weeks later?

It charged Enfield with using an ineligible player.

And the reason?  That the official who wrote the email did not have the authority to write the email.  Enfield were guilty and points were removed.  And docked points means no prizes.

What we have to remember is that it was the FA that made the mistake in not recording the details properly, the FA that made the decision, the FA that were told by Enfield about the mistake, the FA that agreed to the two games missed and the FA that are now cocking this all up by changing their minds.

So every single little error comes from the FA.

And who is going to suffer?

Most certainly not the FA.

But there is another point that comes out of this.   Everyone in business knows that whatever system you put in place, you need a secondary system to check that no errors were made in the system.  You do this through running an audit, through random checks, through double entry systems, cross checks and the like.

So Enfield asked the FA what checks it did to ensure that it had not made a mistake of this nature.  The FA said there wasn’t one.

Now I have previously called the FA a bunch of incompetent idiots who should be first up against the wall when the revolution comes before, not least over their inability to spend money given to them by Sports England for the development of new 3G pitches for children to learn football on.  In that case they said they couldn’t spend the money because the weather was too bad (the money was to be spent in the summer).  Sport England took the money back.

And here again we have gross and overwhelming incompetence on a scale that has to be seen to be believed.  Incompetence not just in handling the Enfield affair but running the entire record keeping of player suspensions across the whole of English football WITHOUT ANY CHECKING PROCEDURE.

Like any one-party-state (which is of course exactly what the FA is) the FA has incompetent management and absolute rules which cannot be bent.  If they were running a country it would be “if you drive at over 30 mph in a built up area you will be shot, even if you did so on the orders of a police officer in uniform”.   Oh yes, and they would not have a checking system to ensure they were shooting the right person.

So it is not surprising to read their rule on this matter which says, “any club found to have played an ineligible player shall have any points gained from that match or matches deducted from its record … and have levied upon it a fine.”  No reference to whose fault it was, checking procedures etc.

The fact is that because of the overwhelming arrogance of the FA it is actually impossible for clubs to know if footballing records are incorrect but when they are found to be incorrect they will be punished.  Yes the one-part-state sure does come to mind.

Some anniversaries of note

9 May 1891: Royal Arsenal FC voted at its AGM to turn itself into a professional side, making the club the first professional team in the south of England in a move proposed by Jack Humble. Although the move had opponents the opposition did not lead to any expulsions or bans as the club’s official history suggested for many years.

9 May 1981: Arsenal 3 Eastern Athletic Association (Hong Kong) 0.  Last game for Frank Stapleton.  After 223 league games he signed for Man U – a move that was not surprisingly, poorly received by Arsenal supporters..



19 comments to The grossest FA cock up of them all. I promise you won’t believe this.

  • nicky

    How come on May 9th we played a friendly against Honkers. Did the season finish early?

  • TailGunner

    A similar situation occurred a few years ago with AFC Wimbledon and after appeals and questions asked in parliament the points deduction was overturned, but Wimbledon had friends in high places, I wonder if Enfield have that kind of support.
    Looking at it from a neutral point of view it seems that although the FA were rightfully and honestly informed by Enfield of their ( the FA’s) error an incorrect and too lenient punishment was administered and now they are overruling themselves and applying the correct one ( points deducted ) as they are quite entitled to. I think there’s lots of room for negotiation here, but it’s a bit late in the season and I don’t fancy Enfield’s chances.
    Sometimes, often actually, I feel the FA is not fit for purpose.
    Best of luck Enfield.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Hmmmm.isnt Enfield a Middlesex club? In that case, deserve what they get!
    No, didn’t mean that. It is about time the govt carried out their threat and acted against the FA….assuming UK govts are supposed to do anything these days.
    The FA are harming the game, just ask Luton supporters

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Nicky, last game for us that season was on 2nd May, beating Villa 2-0. I went to the game v the Spuds that season, fighting was really bad, the Coopers were really aggressive even in the stands( I was sitting in the West lower tier). At that young age I’d never seen anything like it .North Bank was an on going surging battle and people being carted off by the St.J AB I can still recall Franks goal. Brady had left a big hole in the team though, it wasnt quite the same without him..

  • Mike T


    I can’t help but feel you have been a little creative in this article

    Fact one it wasn’t the FA that spelt the players name wrong it was the players reviles clubs meaning that in FA records it would be naturally assumed that it was different players

    Fact two the leagues at all levels are responsible for rulings on such matters and in this instance the Ryman League is the decision maker and indeed it is that league that is responsible to ensure players are correctly signed on. The sender of the email would not be authorised to over rule the Ryman League Managemnt committee
    Appeals against points deductions are heard by the FA .they would not have imposed any points deduction .

  • Mike T

    Having no read a little more on this matter it would seem that the FA charged Enfield with fielding a player who had received10 bookings.
    The FA charge was proved and other than issuing a warning the FA decided that in view of the circumstances they would not be taking any further action against Enfield however as I stated earlier it is the league management committe who decided that further action should be taken and despite the FA decision in effect have trumped the FA sanction by way of their league rules and in turn it was the Ryman League that ordered the points deduction and not the FA . the appeal to the FA is in respect of the Ryamns Leagues ruling.

  • Al

    That’s shocking incompetence. But then again it’s the FA….

  • Usama

    I cant believe how the English Football is alive under these people in charge.

    Working in Aviation field its just like this.

    1. Customer buys ticket for flight 1 month back.
    2. The airline’s working staff emails the customer with confirmation of ticket for flight.
    3. Suddenly out of nowhere just the flight had to be delayed just as it was ready to take off, why? because of an wrong confirmation of a ticket of one passenger.

    To be honest this type of situation are very rare because aviation staff are made to work at great efficiency. But just because of one small error in email causing a delay in flight can cost Airlines Millions and Millions.

  • porter

    And now with FiFa stating that the Spanish government cannot interfere with footballing matters over the television payments ,it obviously holds itself as being above the law.

  • nicky

    @Ken W.,
    Thanks for that. The League season must have finished early in the 80’s.

  • Andy Mack

    Usama, English football is doing well under ‘premier league’ management.
    The FA isn’t involved but it’s desperate to elbow it’s way to the top table where the money is. However no one wants the FA there as they know the FA would just waste the money…..

  • Andy Mack

    Tony, isn’t that where the spuddies now have their training ground?
    Maybe they’ve become more realistic in their ‘local rivalry’ and decided to start some underhanded competition now with Enfield town, who they think they may have to play in local derbies soon……..

  • Usama

    @Andy hmmm right.

  • Jerry

    @Tony, thanks for making us aware of further FA incompetence.

    OT: Perhaps we have found why so many calls are missed by the PGMOL and nothing is done by the FA or Premier League:

    PL receives an extra spot in the Europa League for finishing second in the UEFA Fair Play table. Now potentially West Ham, Everton, or Burnley will be playing in Europa next year as well.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Nicky,looks like it was that season.That year the final was 9th of May(r.14th). If only Tommy Hutchinson had stayed still..
    But for congestion, the stats of the 79/80 season from Apr. onwards are crazy to look at, no wonder went down so badly at Boro. Its the toughest season I ever recall, all those games and came out with nothing.You could see it in the finals,especially against WH, they looked knackered. Sometimes I think it’s right to not have the endless replays.

  • Menace

    Tony how could you get it so wrong. The grossest cock up the FA ever made was appointing PGMOL to officiate football. Actually it was done with purpose to ensure the success of the pocket filling.

  • BNG

    Could anybody think of another professional sport that is worth billions that is run by an amateur organisation?

  • Mick

    Crickets ruling body in UK the MCC, runs the FA pretty close. Maybe not a billion pound sport but very important none the less.

  • The FA(Fuckin Assholes)are gods in their own way they can get away with anything.