Fury over FA ‘ringer’ row

Dave Snaith (right)
Dave Snaith (right)

The chairman of Luton & South Beds District League was left distraught after being suspended for saying he may have played football as a ‘ringer’... 42 YEARS AGO!

Beds Football Association decided to take action against league chairman David Snaith after he compiled the football league handbook in August, in which he had stated: “I played for around five sides legally and properly [sic], the same as a ringer.”

Mr Snaith was suspended on a charge of misconduct for a breach of FA Rule E3 – ‘not acting in the best interest of the game’ in a disciplinary hearing held last week at Beds FA’s offices in Skimpot Road, Dunstable.

Mr Snaith said: “I just feel so badly let down by Beds FA ... They seem so underhand and I’m so gutted.

“I love football – I’ve been a referee for 25 years and now I can’t do it. If I don’t pay the fine, I’ll be suspended for life.”

Mr Snaith has held positions across Beds FA for decades – he currently sits on its council and also has an unblemished character record. He has been backed by strong support by the Luton and South Beds District League, with 27 character references supplied to the FA disciplinary panel – who heard the case.

One reference from the league’s management committee stated: “We might regard the comments to be ill-judged and flippant but we certainly wouldn’t consider them to be worthy of examination by the FA.

“Although we agree that the comment is not helpful... we suggest that this is a very high price to pay for a handful of ill-judged words.

“Will you choose to be seen by the masses as a compassionate organisation of the people or a corporate bully?”

In their disciplinary report, the FA panel said it was “worrying” that the district members had approved Mr Snaith’s handbook, including the reference to playing as a ringer – an unauthorised player on a team.

The FA panel stated: “With such a vast experience it is quite astounding and extremely disappointing that he would make such a comment and actually use the word ‘ringer’ in the context that he did.

“The perception of the public at large, let alone the football world, has to be taken into account.

“For a person ... holding various high offices within the local football world to apparently condone the use of ‘ringers’ and to clearly infer that he was one is simply not acceptable.”

Alan Young, CEO of Beds FA, said: “The matter was heard by The National Football Association as an independent panel. The written reasons to the case can found on TheFA.com.

“David had a right to appeal the panel’s decision and I understand he has not taken that option.”

Mr Snaith was suspended for 35 days and fined £50 – which he has vowed not to pay. A public meeting takes place at Caddington Social Club at 6pm today to discuss matters within Beds FA.

>The first goal in the English FA Cup Final was scored in 1872 by Morton Peto Betts – a ringer playing for Wanderers FC under a pseudonym.