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Maidstone United given permission by the Football Association to play in the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs

By Craig Tucker

Maidstone United have won their fight to be able to compete in the Ryman League Premier Division play-offs.

Maidstone United's Gallagher Stadium Picture: Martin Apps
Maidstone United's Gallagher Stadium Picture: Martin Apps

The FA upheld United's appeal at a hearing at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

Stones secretary Ian Tucker said: "Oliver Ash (co-owner) put his case forward, then the Ryman League explained why they had taken the decision to exclude us from the play-offs, based on information from the Conference that we wouldn't be accepted into their competition with an artificial pitch.

"The panel considered their verdict and said they will permit us to take part in the play-offs should we qualify."

The Stones had been told they couldn't take part because their 3G pitch won't be allowed in the Football Conference if they win promotion.

In January, Conference clubs voted against allowing 3G pitches to be used in any of their divisions - Premier, North or South.

That looked to have shut the door on Maidstone's promotion hopes and United co-owner Oliver Ash called the vote completely undemocratic.

Mr Ash said the club would take the Conference to a tribunal if necessary, although he was always hopeful of reaching an out-of-court compromise.

That threat of legal action didn't go down well across Kent at Ebbsfleet United, whose vice-chairman Peter Varney remains strongly opposed to the 3G argument.

And this week, Gillingham chairman Paul Scally said the Stones only had themselves to blame in their promotion predicament.

More to follow.

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