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MP Tracey Crouch frustrated after meeting with FA to discuss Chatham Town's Ryman League status

By Luke Cawdell

Tracey Crouch admitted to being “frustrated and disappointed” after meeting the FA to discuss Chatham Town’s constitution issues.

The Chatham & Aylesford MP is backing the club’s argument that they should be playing Ryman League South football, rather than North.

Miss Crouch has twice previously raised the issue with English football’s governing body – the FA – but nothing has so far changed.

Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford
Tracey Crouch, MP for Chatham and Aylesford

A facebook post by the MP, described her meeting.

She wrote: “Just had an incredibly frustrating and disappointing meeting with the FA regarding Chatham Town FC placement in the Ryman Isthmian League’s Northern Division.

“The club, one of the oldest in the FA, has for yet another season been put in a league where most of the clubs are north of the Thames thus placing financial pressure on Chatham and indeed time pressure on the players.

“This is now the third time I have raised this with the FA, who claim to understand the frustration of the club but I am not convinced they do.”

Chatham miss out on several Kent derby matches for being in the northern division.

“The fans I spoke to at the end of the last season were really angry about this and understandably think that the FA don’t care about Chatham despite its long football history,” she added.

“The whole thing is a farce and at a time when lower league clubs are facing immense financial pressures you would think that the FA would take issues like travel costs into consideration.

“The only reassurance I got is that the FA are planning to conduct a review. All very well but the review is not going to change anything this season nor will it be ready for 2015-16 season.

“The Club does a lot to support the overall aspirations of the FA. In my view it forgets that Chatham needs its support and that the competitive nature of Kent football would be healthy for the game and club.

“I won’t give up on this. If Chatham Town doesn’t secure promotion to the Ryman Premier then it absolutely must be placed in the Southern League. The current situation is neither fair nor sustainable.”

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