Board response to Invision statement
The board of FC United wishes to respond to the press release posted on the official league website on behalf of Invision and to comments made by John Warrington of Invision, on BBC London non-league show on Monday 17 December.
Invision firstly state that no assurances were given that fixtures would not be moved for television. Supporters will note that in our original statement this claim was not even made and instead refers to assurances of ‘prior consent’. It is disappointing that Invision have sought to deflect attention from the real issue at hand, by denying an allegation that was never made.
Secondly Invision state, “no promises were ever made” by anyone at Invision. Supporters will also note that we do not refer to Invision when talking of assurances but “league officials”.
The League rules give the Competition Secretary the right to amend scheduled fixtures and kick off times to meet television requirements as necessary.
FC United’s objection is that club representatives were told by a senior League official that no games would be moved for the purpose of television without the prior consent of both clubs.
Contrary to the comments made by John Warrington the League’s Assistant Secretary has not denied that assurances were made he has instead claimed in the Manchester Evening News that a different assurance was given:
“The only assurance given was that we would never change the date of a fixture to accommodate televising of a game.”
This is not a true representation of the discussions held.
On 10 July 2007 representatives of FC met with league officials to discuss a number of matters including the Invision deal. At this meeting FC United asked the specific question “would matches be moved for TV?” In response The League’s Assistant Secretary explicitly stated that games: ”would not be moved without the agreement of both the competing clubs.”
In late November both Curzon Ashton and FC United were contacted separately by the League and asked if we would agree to the kick off time of our fixture on December 29th being changed to accommodate a live TV broadcast, both clubs said that they would not wish for the kick off time to be changed.
Not unreasonably given the assurances that FC United had been given by the League we believed that this would be the end of the matter. Subsequently we were surprised to be informed that the League were to impose a decision to change the kick of times.
John Warrington stated on BBC London that Curzon Ashton only objected to the change of kick off time after FC United’s board asked supporters to attend the reserve game, this is a lie and a deliberate attempt to mislead supporters.
FC United have no further desire to become embroiled in ‘who said what to whom’, as we are certain of our facts and confident of our position.
However we will not accept anyone accusing the board of misleading our supporters and if these false accusations continue they will be swiftly countered.
FC United believes that the club has been slandered by the Managing Director of a League sponsor who is claiming to do so with support of the League and as such FC United have lodged a complaint with the League Management Committee (LMC) against John Warrington for bringing the League into disrepute.
To compound the problem the LMC has seen fit to allow Invision to post an inaccurate press release explicitly attacking a member club, the press release has been published on the League’s official website and circulated to member clubs. It is inappropriate that this has been done without asking for FC United’s comment or offering a right of reply and we have asked for the immediate removal of this statement.
FC United of Manchester believes that our club, its board and Curzon Ashton are due an apology for the false statements made by Invision and John Warrington and have requested that the League secures this apology on our behalf.
Finally FC United wish to make it clear that we support the League Management Committee in its efforts to secure additional sponsorship for the League and its member clubs. The greater exposure offered by TV is undeniably a good thing but moving kick off times to accommodate a TV broadcast has to be handled very carefully so as not to alienate the League’s existing supporter base or place clubs in a financially disadvantageous position.
None of the League member clubs has seen the agreement between the League and Invision. None of the clubs were aware that the agreement between the League and Invision allowed for the change of kick off times to accommodate Invision’s demands FC United have asked that the details of the agreement and any undertakings given on behalf of member clubs is circulated to clubs without delay.
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