Aylesbury's strong punishment eases Welwyn Garden City relegation fears
PUBLISHED: 11:50 17 January 2019
Any relegation fears Welwyn Garden City had have been eased slightly – but not in the way they would have wanted.
The FA have imposed an automatic relegation on Aylesbury, four places behind the Citizens in 18th in the Southern League Division One Central table, after the club admitted that work required to expand the changing rooms for officials would not be done in time.
And with two teams set to drop down towards step five at the end of the season, the draconian decision means only one other team will now be relegated.
A statement on the Aylesbury website explained the situation.
It said: “The football club were contacted earlier this season regarding ground grading requirements for next year.
“One of the main stipulations was regarding the changing areas, specifically the total floor area in each of the three changing rooms.
“And while the home and away changing rooms are very close to the minimums needed, the officials’ room would be considerably undersized. “After consultations with a local building contractor and his surveyor we were advised that a major reconstruction would be needed to achieve the minimum requirements.
“This project would need to be completed by March 31 or have the planning, finance and guarantee from the contractor that these works would be carried out by an agreed date.
“If not we were informed that failure to achieve the ground grading would result in relegation.
“The club began the process of putting together a plan regarding the funding and management of the project to achieve the ground grading but unfortunately very soon realised that the deadline was simply not achievable.
“Earlier this week we were contacted by the league to discuss this situation and were assured that there would be no exceptions, the FA have made this very clear to them.
“The decision was taken to make this announcement as relegation is now unavoidable despite all of the hard work undertaken by the management, players and all the staff at the football club.
“Although all the people involved with the club are obviously devastated by this situation we are even more committed now to ensuring the future of Aylesbury FC, taking a step backwards to once again move forward.
“Twenty years ago the club were playing local football and went on to spend a sustained period at Southern League level - and will do so again.”
The likelihood is they won’t be the only club to suffer such a fate with the very same fate currently hanging over the heads of Potters Bar Town.
In their case it is two new stands that need to be built to accommodate 200 more spectators.
They have been promised some assistance from grants to help but still need to raise £5,000 on their own.
A funding page set up to assist has already received over £2,000 but more is still needed.
To help go to www.gofundme.com/save-potters-bar-town-from-relegation