Sutton United boss Doswell slams Conference's failure to see in 3G

Unimpressed: Paul Doswell was disappointed, but not surprised the Conference voted against 3G pitches     SP78637

Unimpressed: Paul Doswell was disappointed, but not surprised the Conference voted against 3G pitches SP78637

First published in Non League Wandsworth Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

Sutton United boss Paul Doswell has slammed as “self-serving” the Conference’s decision to not allow clubs to install 3G pitches.

United proposed the vote on the issue last month, but it was defeated by 21-11 in what Doswell derided as an undemocratic system.

The issue of 3G pitches in the Skrill South could come to a head at the end of this season should Maidstone United, currently second in the Ryman Premier league playing on a 3G pitch, be promoted.

That, according to Doswell, would be the acid test as the Stones have sought legal advice that would give the Conference’s anti-3G stance a severe testing.

Doswell said: “The system is flawed from the start – how can you have a democratic vote on 3G pitches when the clubs in the north and south leagues do not have one vote each?

“We proposed the vote, it was seconded by Dorchester, and both the north and south leagues had four block votes, giving us eight.

Wandsworth Guardian:

Acid test: Maidstone United could bring the 3G argument to a head if they are promoted to the Skrill South

“Three Premier clubs backed us, giving us 11, but the other 21 Premier clubs said no – there are too many invested interests. It is an undemocratic system.

“But it was not a surprise because there is a lot of self-serving going on here.

“It is all about promotion to the Football League, where 3G pitches are not permitted. Most Premier clubs have ambitions of promotion so they are not going to vote in favour because it does not suit them.

“They are not going to consider the clubs further down the pyramid and do us a favour – this is just them looking after number one.”

He added: “Ultimately it will come down to an FA decision, and that could be this summer should Maidstone get promoted.

“They have spoken to a QC who gave them solid advice that not allowing them to play in the Skrill South would be a restriction on trade.

“I think they are still confident that, regardless of what the Conference say, they will be able to play if they get promoted.”

The recent foul weather has left United without a home game since Boxing Day, and the manager is fearful for the remainder of February’s fixtures, and the financial stability of his non-League rivals.

Doswell is also adamant that climate change means the weather will only get worse each year.

“The water level is so high, it cannot take any more. It would not surprise me if half of February is called off,” he said.

“The weather is changing and we’ve not even had the cold snap yet – what happens if that comes in March?

Wandsworth Guardian:

Long time, no see: Sutton United have not played a match at Gander Green Lane since Boxing Day

“We could theoretically be playing three games a week for the foreseeable future.”

He added: “We have not had a home game since Boxing Day, and if it was not for how the club is brilliantly run by the chairman and the board, we would be sunk, and most other non-League clubs will very soon not be able to pay their wages.

“Something needs to be done – I even thought about swapping the season around so we play from March through to October.

“But that will never happen, it is far too logical.”

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