This is a statement produced by the Secretary to the Appeal Board following the decision of Hertfordshire FA involving Pro Elite FC v Hertfordshire Girls Football Partnership League
Following the Appeal Board held on Wednesday 9th September 2020, we have become aware of a number of social media comments and emails directed at both the Hertfordshire Girls Football Partnership League and Hertfordshire FA in relation to this case.
While we appreciate this is a very emotive subject, we encourage all to ensure discussions are conducted in an appropriate and respectful manner. Insulting, offensive or abusive comments are not acceptable and remind everyone to be mindful of their responsibilities in this regard.
Pro Elite FC notified Hertfordshire FA on Thursday 6th August 2020 that their Club had applied for entry but had not been successful in being voted into the Hertfordshire Girls Football Partnership League for the 2020/21 season.
The Club subsequently contacted our Football Services department and we supported them through the process of submitting an Appeal against the League on the basis that the Annual General Meeting was unconstitutional. The Club provided their reasons and evidence why they believed this was the case and the League had the opportunity to respond, providing this in writing for consideration by an Independent Appeal Board.
On Wednesday 9th September 2020 an Appeal Board was convened to consider the case by video conference, with both Pro Elite FC and the Hertfordshire Girls Football Partnership League in attendance and represented for the case. Both parties had the opportunity to present their case to the Appeal Board who consisted of Hertfordshire FA disciplinary panel members.
The Appeal Board, having read and heard the submissions from both parties found that the Annual General Meeting was not unconstitutional and therefore dismissed the Appeal. In coming to their decision, the Board referred to the Standard Code of Rules which govern all Leagues in the country in terms of how they are run and administered.
The Appeal Board found that the entry of Pro Elite FC had been put to member Clubs by the League, in line with the rule that new Clubs have to be considered by the existing membership and voted into the Competition. On this occasion the decision of those member Clubs was not to permit entry of Pro Elite FC into the Hertfordshire Girls Football Partnership League.
To be clear this was a decision made by the member clubs and not the League’s Management Committee or the County FA. The relevant rules had been followed by the League and the Board did not find the League was unconstitutional in how the meeting had been conducted. The decision was therefore final and binding and not subject to further challenge.
We know that football and the decisions made around the game can often be the subject of much debate, some of which can evoke strong feelings. Given this case has generated a lot of discussion online, we felt it was important that the facts are outlined so everyone is aware of the procedure that had been adopted and the process by which a decision has been made.
Hertfordshire FA has worked with the Club throughout the process and while we understand they will be disappointed with the outcome, we are satisfied it has been conducted in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of The Football Association.