Fareham boss slams ‘ridiculous’ FA rule that takes his side to Plymouth two days after Christmas
Pete Stiles has slammed the 'ridiculous' rescheduling of Fareham Town's FA Vase third round tie at Plymouth Parkway.
The Reds are now facing a 326-mile round trip to Devon next Sunday - just two days after Christmas Day - after the weekend tie was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.
Fareham were scheduled to travel to AFC Portchester on Monday, December 28 but that has now been postponed with theVase tie taking priority.
Stiles says it's 'ludicrous' that the club are being asked to make the long journey over the festive period.
But FA rules state that postponed ties must be completed within eight days of the initial date.
However, Stiles feels dispensation should have been granted for the tie to take place in January.
‘Who wants to go down there on December 27? I don’t and I know my players don’t,' he stressed.
‘I don’t want to go down there on a Sunday. Why the FA couldn’t have played it in January I don’t know.
‘They’re just trying to get these games done.
‘If it had been a normal season we’d have been at this stage of the FA Vase anyway, so why don’t they show a bit of common sense and roll it over until January?
‘We could have gone and played Portchester on the 28th but no, they insist on this eight-day thing.
‘It’s absolutely ludicrous and it needs someone at the FA to have a bit of common sense for once and have a look at things.
‘Does it really matter if we play Plymouth Parkway on December 27 or the first week in January? No, it doesn’t.
‘These lads aren’t professional footballers being paid to play all year round. They want their time off as well.
‘I just think it’s ridiculous.'
Stiles remains unaware how many of his squad will be available to him for the trip.
Although Fareham has not been placed under the new tier four restrictions, a number of his players are based in Portsmouth and Gosport - both areas that fall into that category.
And Stiles is waiting to see who he can call upon for the trip to the Western League Premier table-toppers.
‘We’ve got players living in Portsmouth and Gosport,' he added.
‘Probably nine out of my regular 16 fall into that category.
‘I don’t know what’s going on.
‘If they say you can’t use those players, then what’s the point in travelling all the way down to Plymouth if you’re losing 60 per cent of your team - it’s ridiculous.
‘I’m just going to sit here for a couple of days and see how it pans out.'