Leith Athletic demand explanation from South Challenge Cup committee over scheduled match

East of Scotland First Division club angry at decision to schedule match on planned free weekend
Leith chairman Ger Freedman has called for an explanationLeith chairman Ger Freedman has called for an explanation
Leith chairman Ger Freedman has called for an explanation

Leith Athletic chairman Ger Freedman has called on the South Challenge Cup committee to explain the reasoning behind why they are being forced to play during the winter break as he slammed the treatment of his club.

The East of Scotland First Division side are being forced to make a 200-mile round-trip to Castle Douglas to take on Threave Rovers on Saturday in a rearranged fixture just two days before Christmas, while other postponed fourth round ties have been rescheduled for January.

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Saturday 23rd December was set out as an idle week for all East of Scotland clubs at the beginning of the season, and players and coaches have planned accordingly with Christmas events and holidays scheduled.

Freedman revealed that he received notification of the fixture via email, and despite numerous attempts to get an explanation from the cup committee, nothing has been forthcoming.

“I have asked the secretary of the South Challenge Cup to revisit this, I have asked a simple question as to why they are making us go down on 23rd December when there are dates available in January, and the next round isn’t until February, and all I got in a reply was that they were going to pass my comments on to the committee. The last email I sent, I haven’t had a reply. It’s almost like we are nothing to them,” said Freedman.

“A lot of our players have work parties and nights out on Friday. My players are having to go out on a Friday night and play with a hangover, they are amateur players who don’t get paid. I am not expecting our players to stay in on Friday 22nd December – they have been working all year to go out with their work mates or whatever. Some of them are going away on holiday because they never expected to be playing on the 23rd December.

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“I’ve said to our players ‘If you want to me to tell them to stick it, we’ll stick it’ but there is a wee incentive, the winners play Johnstone Burgh in the next round and they’ve got Kyle Lafferty and Graham Dorrans in their squad, so my players want to play that game. The boys want to play it but I have told them that I don’t expect them to come on that bus without going out on the Friday night.

“I demand an explanation as to why we are having to play on Saturday – just send me a paragraph explaining why it is happening. They are treating my club wrongly, and I am not having that, I am not having anyone treating my club and players like that.

“It is fundamentally wrong that they are treating our club like this. The bus situation is an absolute nightmare, it has cost us a fortune. The forecast is rain all week, so there is a good chance the game could be called off, but we won’t get the money back for our bus.”