TITLE-chasing AFC Ludlow have been left fuming at Mercian Regional Football League chiefs as the rumpus over fielding an ineligible player continues to rumble on.
A series of incidents have already led the club to announce they will be resigning from the league at the end of the season, but this week Ludlow again saw red in the dispute over playing Dale Hodge without international clearance in the 3-1 win against Morda earlier in the campaign.
The south Shropshire club, who claimed to be the innocent party, thought the matter had been settled with Hodge receiving a suspended fine, but league chiefs now want the match to be replayed.
Ludlow boss Dave Cooper was furious after receiving a letter from the league, believing the SBS Stadium side are being victimised.
“We thought the matter was done and dusted, so to get a letter from the league now saying we have to play the game again is a big joke,” he said.
“We’re unhappy with what’s going on, the whole thing crazy, so we have decided to appeal against it. If the league continue to say the match has to be replayed, then we’ll take the issue up with the Shropshire FA.
“As far as we are concerned we have done nothing wrong, but we’re being punished.
“We’ve just about had enough with the league and if Morda want to win the league that badly, then let them have it.”
The row came about when Hodge left Ludlow to join Newbridge in the Spar Mid Wales League earlier in the season, but returned to the SBS Stadium club a few weeks later.
He was included in their game against Morda who, after they had lost 3-1, lodged a protest that Hodge had played without international clearance.
The player was handed a suspended fine, although Ludlow claimed they had done nothing wrong as he was still registered as their player, and had never in fact signed for Newbridge.
The fact that the game has now got to be replayed appears to be the last straw in Ludlow’s strained relationship with the league.
Ironically, the latest development comes with AFC Ludlow and Morda due to renew their rivalry tomorrow when they come face to face in the last eight of the league cup at the SBS Stadium (3pm).
Meanwhile, Cooper was also unhappy after seeing Ludlow’s title hopes take a dive with a surprise 1-0 home loss to Wellington Amateur reserves last week.
“We were awful,” he admitted. “They had seen that Wellington had lost their last few games and thought it was going to be a stroll in the park,but were second best and got what we deserved.”