Ciderspace News Page : Conference Makes It Up As It Goes Along - No. 263
20 March 2003 : Conference Makes It Up As It Goes Along - No. 263
Once again the shambles that is the Conference seems determined to make itself a laughing stock in football. The administration of the Conference gets more bizarre by the week. The latest idea to hit the streets is to expand the Conference to 24 clubs. So what, you might think? Bit stupid to create yet more fixture congestion, but no major big deal.

However looking a little deeper this one is a real gem. The expansion is proposed for next season, meaning only one club would be relegated this. And who proposed this change, five weeks from the end of the regular season? Why, Mr. Phil Wallace, chairman of the club currently in 21st place and six points adrift from 19th. And no surprise if a number of other clubs saw this as an easy way out of their predicament.

When starting out in a competition one expects to know the rules. Strategy and tactics throughout the season takes them into account. Changing those rules during the campaign is just not acceptable.

Nothing for or against the clubs involved, but let's look at one set of circumstances. On March 8th Yeovil went to a Woking in a relegation scrap. Woking battle out of their skins against the league leaders and take a precious point in their struggle to survive. The possibility of changing the rules is then mooted, and Woking don't know exactly where they stand when Doncaster visit this coming weekend. Does this effect their concentration and performance? Who can tell, but it might. By the time Dagenham and Redbridge visit Woking on April 19th who knows what the situation will be? You can't change rules mid-season, because you will be moving the goalposts for someone.

Continuing the theme of dubious practice, Doncaster Rovers have arranged a County Cup match for March 31st, the day before an important league derby against Scarborough. Odd? The Doncaster Newsletter reveals all:

Note: Dave Morley & Jason Blunt will both be suspended for this game, but will be available for selection for the Scarborough league game on the next day!

Nothing against Doncaster trying it on - who wouldn't? But trying it on they are, with rule 7(k) of the disciplinary code stating:

A Commission shall have discretionary power to rule that a match shall not count towards the completion of a suspension if it is satisfied that the game has been arranged by the Club with a view to enabling the player to complete his suspension and thus qualify him to play in a specific match.

Anyone think Doncaster just might have arranged the tie against Maltby Main with another specific match in mind?

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20/03/2003 : Conference Makes It Up As It Goes Along - No. 263
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