The Midland Men’s Hockey League has handed out a stringent sanction on Stourport HC, including demotion from the men’s Premier Division and a points deduction, while proposing a one-year playing ban, after fielding an ineligible non-club member.
According to the league, Stourport 1s twice falsified match sheet returns in Tier 1 Midlands Premier Division matches played in January and February. On both occasions ‘Player A’s’ name did not appear on the official match sheets and a false name was used.
Following a Stourport investigation by its own committee, the decision to use ‘Player A’ was taken by the 1s captain and 1s manager. Subject to regional association approval, the committee proposed personal one-year bans to both from all Midlands league hockey.
In all, Stourport breached four league rulings and will start the new season in Midlands 1 with a -2 points deduction.
In acting upon the penalties, the Midlands league committee also took into consideration the fact that Stourport 2s played ineligible players and falsified the team sheet in 2017, as well as previous penalties on fielding ineligible players on three other local clubs.
The final ruling – which saw Stourport men handed relegation and the Stourport player and coach avoid a ban – added that the penalties were imposed to garner “publicity for these breaches on the MRHL website so other clubs can see justice done, and see what happens if they do it.”
It is understood that Stourport HC had the right of appeal of the decision but did not exercise its rights.
The club had finished eighth in the season before the league decided to use a percentage points basis to conclude the season following the coronavirus outbreak.
The Hockey Paper has requested comment from Stourport HC.
** This article was edited to clarify that Stourport player and coach avoided a ban from the committee proposals
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