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Maidstone United to appeal Ryman League decision to deny them chance to take part in the play-offs

By Craig Tucker
Oliver Ash

The FA will decide whether Maidstone United are allowed to compete in the Ryman League

United were told by the league they can’t take part as they are ineligible for promotion to the Conference due to the Gallagher Stadium’s 3G pitch.

Stones contested the decision and will have their appeal heard by the FA at Wembley on Wednesday, April 2.

Co-owner Oliver Ash said: “The Ryman League made the decision based on their rules because, as things stand, we would not be eligible for promotion.

“We appealed the decision for various reasons, saying it was grossly unreasonable, and the FA will hear our appeal.

“Given they have shown such leadership in accepting 3G in all rounds of the FA Cup next season, we can only assume they will be supportive of our cause and help find a solution with the Ryman League that would allow us to compete in the play-offs if we qualify.”

Maidstone are no longer talking to Conference bosses but hope FA influence and pressure from sports minster Helen Grant will encourage the league to change their rules on 3G.

Stones believe the FA’s unanimous vote to allow 3G pitches in the FA Cup puts further pressure on the Conference to accept change.

Mr Ash said: “I never expected anything quite so spectacular from the FA. It’s a key step by the leaders of the game to come out so strongly in favour of 3G.

“There is no stronger message to the leaders of non-league football that this is the right thing to do.

“The FA have shown you can have a sudden change of heart and there’s still time for the Conference to do likewise.

“We don’t think 3G will ever be allowed into the Conference through a vote. We are hoping the FA will engage in discussions with the Conference to persuade them there is a compromise.

“Helen Grant has also taken up the issue strongly, which we’re delighted about.Either the Conference heed words from the great and good telling them to change their minds, or we will go through the courts.”

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