Grounds for concern as league expels its champions

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IT’S rare for a team to win a League Championship then be booted out of the league.

But that’s the position Handsworth find themselves in days after clinching the NCEL Division One title.

That’s unless the FA’s Leagues Committee overturns the NCEL Board’s decision.

How did it get to this stage? Well the NCEL management committee must take some responsibility. When Handsworth applied to join the league two years ago their Olivers Mount ground didn’t meet the required Grade G grading but nevertheless Handsworth were accepted into Division One on the proviso improvements followed.

The stumbling block has always been the distance between the changing rooms and the pitch.

Handsworth say planning permission is expected for facilities closer to the pitch and that a £100,000 grant is likely to be rubber stamped in June.

However, the bottom line is that if the NCEL had not allowed the club into the league without the required grading in the first place, then they would not find themselves in an embarrassing position of expelling the First Division Champions.

Should the club’s appeal fail then they can expect to either go back into the County Senior league, although there lies another problem with the club’s reserve team currently competing in its Premier Division. Another option would be for the FA Committee to place Handsworth in the Central Midlands League.