Parish council expresses disappointment at Sidlesham withdrawing from Southern Combination League

Sidlesham FC's 2019-20 squad - now without a league for their first team / Picture by Chris Hatton
Sidlesham FC's 2019-20 squad - now without a league for their first team / Picture by Chris Hatton

Sidlesham Parish Council says it is disappointed the village's football club has pulled out of the Southern Combination League.

It comes days after the parish council was blamed by Sidlesham FC for its decision to withdraw its first team from division one of the league. The football club said the termination of its agreement to use the pitch had caused uncertainty and left it no choice but to pull out.

Now the parish council has told the Observer it did not think the club's withdrawal had been coming as negotiations continued. The council has indicated it has no desire to stop the football club using the Selsey Road venue.

The council issued a statement to the Observer which said: "Sidlesham Parish Council, owners of the Memorial Playing, Field is keen to develop the use of the facility as a community sports and recreation centre.

"In order to progress this development, the Parish Council needs the flexibility to attract other users and grant funding bodies. The Parish Council therefore terminated the existing open ended arrangement with Sidlesham Football Club and offered the club the opportunity to continue to use the pitch under an annually reviewed agreement.

"Sidlesham Football Club advised the Parish Council that this short term contract was not acceptable under football league rules.

"At the 18 September Parish Council meeting, attended by officials of the club, it was agreed that the Parish Council would work with Sidlesham Football Club and the Football League to find a mutually acceptable form of words to resolve the issue.

"The Parish Council Chairman contacted the League as agreed and has been advised that Sidlesham Football Club has already resigned from the League. The Parish Council is disappointed that the Football Club has made this decision."

Sids have not pulled out of the West Sussex League - in which their reserves play - because in that league, a team does not need tenure on its ground in order to play home games.