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FOOTBALL: North Leigh voice anger over Didcot raid
11:00am Wednesday 6th June 2012 in Local Football
North Leigh are vowing to take action against Oxfordshire Southern League rivals Didcot Town, claiming they broke rules in announcing they had signed four of their players.
Didcot released a statement stating that Elliott Osborne-Ricketts, Morgan Williams, Brian Bowles and Kieran Sanders (pictured) had all joined their Division 1 South & West rivals from North Leigh.
But Millers chairman Peter King revealed in a statement that Sanders has agreed a new deal.
And King claimed Didcot are not allowed to contact any player at another club before May 31, unless they do so with a seven-day approach.
With no approach made, King says that he will discuss the matter with both FA and Oxfordshire FA officials, and described the conduct of Didcot as “unsavoury”.
Didcot chairman John Bailey hit back, however, saying that it was the players that approached Didcot, rather than the club targeting them.
“On May 25, Didcot Town announced they had signed four North Leigh first team players, Elliott Osborne-Ricketts, Morgan Williams, Brian Bowles (all former Didcot players) and Kieran Sanders,” North Leigh’s statement read.
“Contrary to the information, we confirm that Kieran Sanders will continue his career with North Leigh, having just signed a further one-year contract with the club.
“Moreover, and in relation to the action by Didcot Town in approaching our players, having taken advice from the FA and the Southern League, we are advised that during the period up to and including May 31, no approach may be made by a club to a player of another club without a formal written seven-day notice.
“No contact whatsoever was received by North Leigh and therefore the approaches – and any paperwork raised and signed as a result of the approaches – will be deemed illegal.
“Clearly the action broke FA rules and the club will be taking the matter further with both the FA and the County Association, the OFA.
“Notwithstanding this un-savoury activity by a local club, North Leigh look forward to an exciting pre-season.
“We welcome Blue Square Premier’s Forest Green Rovers and Blue Square South’s Eastleigh to Eynsham Park.”
However, when contacted by the Oxford Mail, Bailey replied: “We never approached the players, they approached us.
“They are not contracted players, if they were, then we would have to have made seven-day approaches for them – and would have done.
“But it was the players who phoned us, and they actually came here en masse.
“Although they will join Didcot, their registrations will not go through until they are allowed to, so we haven’t done anything wrong.”