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Maidstone United fans cannot watch FA Cup Second Qualifying Round tie away to Hendon

Maidstone chief executive Bill Williams has described this week’s FA Cup tickets U-turn as a ‘hammer blow’.

Stones fans had been snapping up tickets for their FA Cup Second Qualifying Round tie at Hendon on Saturday.

Maidstone United chief executive Bill Williams. Picture: Steve Terrell (42488191)
Maidstone United chief executive Bill Williams. Picture: Steve Terrell (42488191)

But the FA announced on Monday that fans of ‘elite’ clubs - which includes Maidstone and all other National League South teams - can not watch their side play away to ‘non-elite’ clubs in the FA Cup.

“Just when you think you’ve seen everything, along comes another hammer blow ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup match,” Williams told Maidstone’s website.

“In the last couple of hours, the FA have announced that where a ‘non-elite’ club hosts an ‘elite’ club, spectators of the home club only shall be permitted to attend the match.

“Words cannot express my disappointment and frustration at this decision.

“Why wasn’t this spectator guidance in place before the draw was made?

“Clubs, like our opponents at Hendon, have sold tickets in good faith and four days before have to suspend sales and work out how they manage tickets that were purchased from a ME postcode, perhaps the whole of Kent or maybe a non-Hendon postcode!?

“It was clear in my mind that if a National League club, in any of the three divisions, was drawn at home, those games would be behind closed doors.

“The same would not apply if we were drawn against a team from Isthmian Premier or below. It was one of those rare occasions when I didn’t mind an away draw as at least some of our supporters would get to see their team in person.

“This will now not happen and I feel for those who will likely have their ticket cancelled and refunded.”

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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