STUNNED Bosham have been relegated from the Sussex League – because of a chemical toilet and the size of a dressing room.
The Walton Lane outfit are facing life in the West Sussex League after being told their ground does not come up to standards now expected in division three of the county league.
Two issues saw them fall foul of the ground inspectors: the home dressing room is not big enough and the referee’s dressing room has a chemical toilet and not a permanent one.
Club bosses are unsure if they can bounce back but the news, which comes two years after they were denied promotion to division two for similar reasons, is a bitter blow.
Ironically it comes months after they had a £20,000 makeover from Wickes won in a national competition.
First-team manager Tony Hancock said: “It is with a very heavy heart that I announce that Bosham have been informed officially that despite finishing 11th of 16 in division three, we are to be relegated from the Sussex County Football League after many years involvement, because of ground-grading issues.
“Therefore both first and reserve teams will not be a part of the SCFL next season and are relegated to the West Sussex League.
“This is a very sad day for all involved with the club – officials, players and staff alike, who have all worked tirelessly to keep the club running at this level and try to achieve as best as we can, playing as entertaining football as we possibly could with limited resources and a fantastic group of players and team-mates. Let’s hope this club we are all proud to be a part of can bounce back from this setback.”
It’s not the first time Bosham have fallen foul of ground-grading rules.
Two years ago they were furious when after winning the division-three title, the league told them they could not take their place in division two because aspects of their ground were not up to scratch, at least in the league’s eyes.
Their relegation does hinge on one of the top two from the West Sussex League – Billingshurst or Sidlesham – having their ground approved for Sussex division three.
But this is thought likely to happen.
County league officials insist their hands are tied by national FA rules which have been extended to give clubs at step seven (Sussex division three level) requirements.
Sussex League vice-chairman Steve Nealgrove said the league had tried to keep all clubs fully informed about any work they needed to do.
Bosham say both issues that have hit them are things they cannot do anything about, rather than are unwilling to do.
Nealgrove said: “We have tried to help Bosham and feel sympathy for them.
“There are five sides in division three who didn’t meet the required Grade I but Bosham were the lowest-placed of them.”
The league is allowed to keep four clubs in the division who don’t make the grade but if less than 75 per cent of clubs don’t meet standards, central FA grant money would dry up.