Heartbreak for Welwyn Garden City as they are blocked from Southern League play-offs

Welwyn Garden City Football Club have been denied their place in the Southern League Division One Central play-offs

Welwyn Garden City Football Club have been denied their place in the Southern League Division One Central play-offs by the FA. - Credit: NEIL METCALFE

Welwyn Garden City are OUT of the Southern League Division One Central play-offs after a receiving a letter from the FA.

The Citizens had been rocked prior to Easter with the news that their Herns Lane ground have not met certain aspects of the FA's mandatory facilities for the level of football they played in.

The club appealed that decision and were informed late on Friday night that the appeal had been upheld.

In the wake of that the Citizens then thrashed Kidlington 7-1 on the road to snatch the final play-off place in the Division One Central table.

However, that joy has in turn been snatched away from them with news reaching the club less than 24 hours later that they would not be accepted into the post-season showdown.

A statement from vice-chairman Dave Coates said: "On Friday we had an appeal in regard to our ground grading. Our appeal was successful but the process was not concluded.

"The FA have written to us today and advised us that we have been granted some additional time to attain our grade D ground grading status.

"However, we are not permitted to play in the forthcoming play-offs.

"We are disappointed to hear this news after being so elated yesterday.

"We thank [manager] Nicky Ironton, [assistant manager] Ricci Crace and all the coaches and players for all their hard work this season. We also thank all of our supporters."

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The club now have a month to bring their ground up to scratch with just two parts that need addressing.

They have to increase the amount of covered area to cater for an extra 51 people, the FA say there should be a minimum of 300 under shelter, both standing and in seats, while the referee's changing room needs expanded by no more than six square foot.

The minimum here should be "six square metres, excluding shower and toilet areas".

A hugely-disappointed Coates told WHT Sport: "Getting demoted would have been the worst case scenario and could have done so much damage to us.

"But we're confident we will be able to complete the works.

"We have achieved some stuff and it's only these things we need to rectify."