Mac­cabi’s White Hart pain

Teams ad­vised to put club loy­al­ties aside and play their Sun­day morn­ing matches

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BYDANNYCARO

FOOT­BALL A group of lead­ing Mac­cabi League of­fi­cials and man­agers are urg­ing Jewish play­ers to pri­ori­tise play­ing ahead of watch­ing foot­ball this Sun­day.

Tot­ten­ham’s tele­vised Premier League clash against Chelsea — both of whom have a large per­cent­age of Jewish sea­son-ticket hold­ers — has left sev­eral clubs short of play­ers for their matches, which tra­di­tion­ally kick-off at 10am. This has left man­agers plead­ing for play­ers to show com­mit­ment and loy­alty to their cause.

Red­bridge Jewish Care A sub­mit­ted a re­quest not to have a game, as sec­re­tary Richard Bronzite ad­mits they “would not have been able to put out a team”.

Wood­ford Wan­der­ers ad­mit­ted to “hav­ing a real is­sue” ahead of their meet­ing with Faith­fold B as three mem­bers of man­age­ment team — Alex Avi­ram, Martin Sales and Daryl Kay — are all sea­son-ticket hold­ers at White Hart Lane.

Kay said: “Chelsea at home is ob­vi­ously one of our big­gest games of the sea­son. We con­tacted Faith­fold ear­lier this month to ar­range an ear­lier kick­off but re­ceived a ‘no’ from them. As the away team, we were pre­pared to set off at 7.30 on a Sun­day morn­ing, pay the ref­eree ex­tra for his ef­forts and find a pitch to meet in the mid­dle so we didn’t miss the Spurs game, but Faith­fold flatly re­fused.”

But some clubs have shown good­will to their ri­vals. SPEC FC’s Ricky Lawrence was keen to “thank” Ja­son Stein for mov­ing their match against Oak­wood B for­ward to a 9.45am start.

Lawrence said: “Yes it’s dis­rupted Sun­day morn­ing mas­sively and it’s a shame as we are on a good run.

“We’ll be witho u t v i r t u a l l y a whole team and a load of good play­ers but it’s a one-off and th­ese things hap­pen. But we will definitely put out a team.”

Stein sym­pat h i s e d w i t h Lawrence and said: “I like Ricky and I al­ways try and help where I can so I of­fered an ear­lier start, which he ac­cepted. In my view any­thing ear­lier was too much of an in­con­ve­nience.

“Too many times I’ve seen play­ers dis­re­spect­ing the club they play for — and the man­ager — by choos­ing to go to some midtable clash. You don’t ‘need’ to do any­thing. You’re making the choice. And that choice is ‘I’m go­ing to leave my team­mates in the lurch here’. “I get it. Foot­ball is a big t h i n g . But­play­ing should come first be­cause those are mem­o­ries that last for­ever. I’m happy to help SPEC and I gen­uinely hope they have a good and com­pet­i­tive side out. But I feel sad when I see lads choos­ing some­thing else over their own team.”

Real Sosobad are an­other club who will be “miss­ing a couple of reg­u­lars” due to the clash. Man­ager Dan Shafron said: “Of course it is not ideal. Sev­eral play­ers in the MSFL are sea­son-ticket hold­ers of clubs they sup­port and in­vari­ably pay well in to the thou­sands to watch their team play.

“As a man­ager, I would never dare tell any of my play­ers not to go to a game of foot­ball. We play leisurely and they are well within their right to go.”

Cam­den Park match against Oak­wood A has been moved for­ward 15 min­utes but man­ager Will Cas­tle con­ceded the early start “still won’t al­low peo­ple to get to the game”. He said: “A couple of play­ers had tick­ets but Cam­den comes first.” MGBSFL chair­man David Wolff in­sists the de­ci­sion ul­ti­mately lies with the play­ers. He said: “Peo­ple are signed up for Mac­cabi League foot­ball so we ex­pect them to play games. It’s sim­ple. Ei­ther they are com­mit­ted to play­ing or watch­ing, but we can’t run the league around the teams.

“The pri­or­ity for us is to get the matches played. The FA are aware of the prob­lems re­gard­ing po­ten­tial clashes but the Premier League are a law unto them­selves. They are not both­ered about grass-roots foot­ball and are only in­ter­ested in cor­po­rate bod­ies and ad­ver­tis­ers.”

Stu­art Lustig­man of the Mac­cabi Mas­ters League de­scribed the clash as a “real threat to Sun­day League foot­ball”. He said: “It’s frus­trat­ing when the FA is sup­posed to be en­cour­ag­ing grass-roots foot­ball but we’re com­pet­ing with the best league in the world.

“It’s some­thing we have to live with and we have to ac­com­mo­date play­ers with the dilemma as there is no easy so­lu­tion.

“The bot­tom line is that we can’t change Premier League kick-off times, so flex­i­bil­ity is the key.”

Some man­agers also be­lieve there are clubs who are un­will­ing to show flex­i­bil­ity to start times in a bid to gain an ad­van­tage. Har­men’s Joe Marsh ac­cused Hen­don of “re­fus­ing

PHOTO: MARC MOR­RIS

Har­men will play on

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