The flagship national Jewish football cup competition was labelled a “farce” this week after a fourth team withdrew.
A change in the rules to this season’s Peter Morrison competition has seen southern and northern teams drawn against each other from the first round, as opposed to just the latter stages. As predicted could in a Jewish News article back in July, this has resulted in teams quiting the competition.
Premier Division giants Faithfold A were the latest club to forfeit their tie against Heaton Park at the weekend, following in the footsteps of Faithfold B and Real Sosobad, who pulled out of games against Heaton Park and Leeds Maccabi, while Hendon B have confirmed they won’t be fulfilling their fixture against Leeds Maccabi.
Calling on the Peter Morrison Cup committee to revert the cup back to its previous set-up, Hendon player-manager Adam Glekin said: “I think they need to rethink the format, it’s a bit of a farce at the moment. When they did the first round draw, everyone was praying they avoided a trip to Leeds, very few second or third division teams are going to bother with fulfilling the match. At the rate we’re going, Leeds are going to get a bye to the final if they insist on keeping the format as it is.
“I’d recommend that the game is played somewhere neutral in between the cities which is more easily accessible for both teams. I would also suggest that teams should be financially compensated for the money it will cost to travel. Otherwise I can envisage this same problem continually reoccurring.”
Faithfold B manager Rob Shooman is in agreement with Glekin, saying: “My opinion is that the northern teams shouldn’t be involved in the same section of the draw as the southern sides until the quarter-finals, when a possible trip up north or them coming down makes the game more important and at that stage, the interest much higher. Let the northern teams – and southern teams as we did – play each other in our own area.
“Neither ourselves or the A side could raise enough players who were interested in playing the games. In my day the Morrison Cup was a very important well-supported competition, nationwide, from London to Scotland, I’m sorry to say that is not the case now.”
Sosobad manager Daniel Shafron said his side wanted to play their game, but couldn’t get enough people for the trip. He said: “We were unable to take a big enough squad to Leeds on the suggested dates. We tried to find alternative ones however, there were various compulsory commitments for our players which mean they couldn’t make it. We really wanted to play the game and were excited about the trip to Leeds but unfortunately just couldn’t make it happen.”
However, backing the changes to the tournament, League chairman David Woolf said: “I 100 percent back the changes made to the competition. The National Football Committee will now look into it and fine the teams for forfeiting the ties. It’s a pity it’s come to this but I can’t physically force them to turn up.”