SUNDAY soccer matches in the Oswestry area were forced to cancel at the weekend due to a FIFA ruling on ‘International Clearence’ putting the league under threat.
Due to the Shropshire Football Association’s insistence that all leagues in Shropshire comply with a FIFA rule regarding International Clearance fixtures have been suspended until Sunday, December 9.
The FIFA rule states that any player over the age of 12 years of age who plays football in Wales cannot, under any circumstances, play football in England at the same time. So, if a player plays in Wales on a Saturday they cannot play in England on a Sunday unless they apply for International Clearance, which cannot be achieved overnight, so effectively the player has to make a decision, they either play in Wales or they play in England. This also affects any players who live in Wales.
With the North Shropshire Sunday League’s close proximity with the Welsh border they are more affected than any other league in the county. They have approximately 60 players, who normally play in the Sunday League, who either play or live in Wales.
Several clubs could not raise teams for Sunday’s games, so it was decided to call off all the games, and suspend fixtures to give clubs the time to either obtain international clearance or sign new eligible players so they can continue in the League.
The Roche North Shropshire Sunday League (the old Wem Sunday League) was established in the 1972-73 season and should be looking to celebrate 40 years at the end of this season, but this ruling is putting the future of the League in serious doubt.
It was the first adult league in Shropshire to gain Charter Standard Status, and the only league in Shropshire to run the roll on-off substitution pilot scheme, which runs for two years.