The Bluefin Sports Hellenic Supplementary Cup Final scheduled for this coming Saturday between Burnham and Flackwell Heath has been cancelled due to player registration irregularities.
The Hellenic League management committee have released the below statement: “Certain irregularities have been brought to the notice of the UHL Management Executive in the past 24 Hours with regard to player registration irregularities.
Consequently, the staging of the Bluefin Sport Supplementary Cup, scheduled for Saturday 5 May, has been cancelled until such time as all matters have been fully investigated.
A further release will be made once the matters have been resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned.”
Although no official word on the player involved, a look at previous results leads us to believe the player in question is Usman Lulastani.
Lulastani started the season at Flackwell Heath playing in their Bluefin Sports Hellenic Challenge Cup loss at Windsor before transferring to Binfield. In total, he played 21 times for Flackwell then 4 times for Binfield before transferring to Burnham where he has subsequently played 7 times.
Unfortunately, three of those matches have been Supplementary Cup games:
Second Round against Abingdon Town on 6th March – Burnham won 2-1
Third Round against Cirencester Town Dev on 17th March – Burnham won 7-4 AET, FT score was 3-3
Semi-Final against Highworth Town on 23rd April – Burnham won 1-0.
He did not however play in the Quarter-Final victory against Oxford City Nomads on 19th April which Burnham won 3-2.
Challenge Cup and Supplementary Cup are different cups so what’s the problem?
Sadly, for Lulastani and Burnham, the league rules are very clear and exerts from the rules state:
All players eligible to play for a club in league matches shall be eligible to play in the Hellenic League Challenge Cup Competition and the Hellenic League Supplementary Cup competition, providing his registration form has been received and accepted by the Registration Secretary in accordance with Competition Rule 6.4.
No player shall be allowed to play for more than one competing club in either competition in any one season.
Lulastani has played three ties as an ineligible player and whilst he didn’t play against Oxford City Nomads, it clear to all that Burnham should have been removed from the competition sooner and not played that match against Nomads.
Had this been picked up at the time then Abingdon Town (despite losing 2-1) would have gone on to play Cirencester Town Dev, with the winners playing Oxford City Nomads and in turn the winners of that match playing Highworth Town in the Semi-Final.
With the season’s end imminently upon us, any Supplementary Cup would need to be squeezed in before the end of the season, especially with the possibility that Highworth may end up promoted as the best third placed side.
Whilst not ideal as players who have earned to right to play in the final may move on, we are not sure what else can be done.
We would propose that Abingdon Town, Cirencester Town Dev, Oxford City Nomads and Highworth Town meet in play-off semi-finals with the winners meeting in the final.
The overall winner would then go on to face Flackwell Heath in the final.
We are not sure what action will be taken by the Hellenic League, its clear that this needs to be investigated fully but we believe our proposal in fairest for all of the affected clubs.